I still wasn’t seeing him. My wife had tried to ask me that morning about the promotion I was never going to get, and the words that followed, yet another missed connection, another titanic disaster that was our attempt to ever meet anywhere between her and me, left me filled with such overwhelming emptiness, that I arrived at the bus stop this morning, blind, deaf and numb. When I did arrive, I couldn’t, even, for a moment, remember why I’d come. I sat down on the bench, right next to him but I still didn’t see him…until he said it again
“Batman was here. You missed him again!”
I turned my head and looked.
His clothes were filthy (how had I not noticed that before? Were they the same clothes?) His hair seemed particularly disheveled. The action figure in his hand was not batman, but rather a nondescript helmeted iron clad something. I answered him in a voice that sounded surprisingly normal to me
“I did, huh? Batman?”
“Of course, Batman.” His look said, “who else, silly?”
The conversation was taking on a very surreal feel, so far from both our realities, but I didn’t have the energy or desire to shift it from it’s natural course, so I simply answered.
“Tell Batman I probably won’t ever get here to see him. Somehow I just have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
He shook his head. “No, it’s ok. He’s here all the time, you can just be here tomorrow. Come faster.”
“No, really. I’m just not fast enough. You, though. You’re a lucky kid, getting to see Batman three days in a row!”
“You’ll be here at the right time tomorrow.” He nodded with that weird knowing nod he had.
“Cause he wescues people. You need wescuing?” Rescuing was a very difficult word for him to get out, and I felt the edges of a smile creeping in despite myself.
“Nah, I’m ok.” I lied, “What about you? Does he help you.”
A shadow settled over both of us as the bus pulled up with a screech.
As I climbed on board, he waved his cheerful wave and this time I waved back.
As I watched him climb down and move off, it occurred to me for the first time in three days, that maybe I should be worried about him…and then to my surprise I realized I was.