November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Miss, miss, I just wanted to–”
I reflexively pulled the box of leftovers and sweater onto my lap, where they didn’t fit, so he could sit down. I couldn’t help glancing irritably at the empty bus seats around me.
“—tell you I really like your green hair.”
He was standing in the aisle, bending intently and revealing layers of thin gold chains. I opened my mouth for my polite, unfocused thank you, the kind you give a person you’re resigned to spending a bus ride getting propositioned by. He bowled on past it.
“I really like your green hair, a lot, you see my name” (—something blurred—) “it means green, my last name is green. So I like your green hair very much, you see. I like green. I am a green – you have green hair.”
He gestured with a foil-wrapped piece of candy. Green candy.
“I wanted to tell you how much I like your green hair,” he grinned, chains flapping. I thanked him and took the candy, moving my body a bit in anticipation of him sitting down. To my surprise, he had politely vanished.
I tucked the piece of green candy in my bag. They always told me not to take candy from strangers, but I think this was the first time I’d ever received candy from a stranger – if you except one of my better friends, whose acquaintance was made over a proffered candycane.
The next morning, I plopped back onto the bus and customarily opened my bag. Out across my lap marched all the ants that had snuck in there overnight. As I tried to pretend I wasn’t being suddenly overwhelmed by insects (sit still, don’t flail, sit still, don’t flick them at people), I finally grokked the age-old advice: really, don’t take candy from strangers.