Had it not been for her slight smile, she would have seemed imperious in her ownership of the bench seat in the back of the 7th street bus.
Her handsome countenance, testimony of her former beauty, was accented by the elegance of her pale gray slacks, pearlescent pink high necked sweater and paisley scarf in shades of charcoal and pink. Her flat heeled black shoes, while old, wore the buttery sheen of years of careful polishing. She was a woman who gave the appearance of control, both of herself and her surroundings, of knowing things that others did not, and one of holding herself slightly apart from the rest of the world.
She was an enigma to the other daily passengers of the 7th Street transit. No one seemed to know where she came from or where she went since those who saw her board had long since left the bus by the time her journey came to an end. She was merely a curious presence among the ever rotating group of men in suits, women with children on their laps, janitorial workers, and teenagers with their boisterous enthusiasm. She gave all the regulars a slight nod as they took their seats but otherwise always seemed to be lost in her own thoughts.
With only a few passengers remaining, she finally rose from her seat, stepped to the exit and regally descended the steps, turning left to begin her long walk down Almeda Avenue toward the corner of now and then.
The six flights of stairs in the old building creaked as she climbed slowly but purposefully, her body erect and her hand, devoid of jewelry, on the old painted wood railing. Removing her key from the bag on her arm, she entered her room as if she were walking toward her throne on the dais that was the center of everyone’s attention. Taking her cup from it’s accustomed place on the hook on the wall, she prepared her tea with the water heated on the hot plate that stood on the board that served as her counter, and sat peacefully at the old Formica table that was the center of her home.