The last leg of my trip is on the #92 CTA bus. Across the aisle sits a young lady who converses in a clear, friendly, sober voice. She flew in from Brooklyn to spend the holiday with her family. We talk about my Seeing Eye dog and her cats and my cats. We talk of the vibrancy of city life, about what is similar and different between New York and Chicago.
We talk about places we have been. I tell her I’ve been away for a week and that I’m eager to be home with my wife to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. She tells me that last winter, she took a vacation to Buenos Aires and met an itinerant Argentine tango dancer.
I’m about to say, “How romantic!” but I’m unsure what she means by the word, “met.” So, I say, “When I was young, I met a Milanese girl on the Italian Riviera and I remember her to this day.” And she says she knows exactly what I mean, and from the lilt of her voice, I know she loved her Argentine tango dancer. But she lives in Brooklyn and he lives like a gypsy in Argentina. And I live in Chicago and the Milanese girl lives God knows where, it’s been thirty years.
“You meet the most interesting people when you travel,” she says.
And I say, I’ve never been to Buenos Aires but I’ll bet it’s beautiful,”
She sighs but doesn’t say a word. And the bus rolls on and people whom I see as shadows get on and off the bus and pretty soon will be my stop. And I just know the young lady would not have got off the bus without saying good-bye to me and my dog. And then I hear a little sniffle and I know she’s still here and she’s far away, sitting quietly, remembering her Argentine tango dancer.