At Pine, LSBW gets off. Before doing so, she takes a moment to slip back in character, telling Spry Lady, "I'm getting out at PINE. I'll kick your ass, you anorexic bitch!"
"Aw, we don't need to say stuff like that," I say, in the tone of a disappointed Auntie talking to her lovable grand-neices. "Have a good night."
"Okay," she says. I was prepared for anything, but her response is so unexpectedly ordinary I can't help but laugh.
Now it's just myself, Gent, and Spry at the front. The bus fills up a little on its way to the next stop, Union, but the conversation between the three of us stays focused. I immediately thank Spry for having the patience to put up with LSBW.
"Oh, it's fine, I've seen her around. She's mentally disabled," she explains to Gent, "her mom's white and her dad's black, and she thinks people don't like her because of that."
"Which doesn't make sense at all, because there's such a variety of people in this city, and it's a fairly tolerant place-"
"Exactly, nobody cares about that stuff here,"
"Yeah, we're a rainbow city!"
To Spry, I butt in again with, "thanks again for your patience. You're wonderful."
"Oh it's okay, it's fine, I know her. I mean I don't know know her-" you can see she's trying to make a good impression on Gent-
"Yeah, I do too," I say. "She's always like this."
Gent, quite a bit more tolerant and empathetic than I would've guessed: "Yes, her mind is telling her to say things..."
"-that would make her blush, if she actually knew," I say.
"Exactly. You can't take it to heart."
"It's not you."
I look at them and smile to myself. What a pleasure it is to see these two people, one in a suit an the other in rags, of the same generation but from the absolute opposite ends of the spectrum, trying to make each other feel better. Making real the thread that ties them together.
Gent gets out to go enjoy his concert at Benaroya. Spry remains, and we chat up a storm about this and that, I can hardly remember what, my mind still reeling from what had just happened, processing it all. Spry has long since moved on, and is happily babbling about something else. When she gets off to go back inside Harborview, I thank her again for her strength of character. "And you're not anorexic," I say at one point-
"Oh, but I am. I'm havin' serious problems with it now, that's why I'm staying at the hospital. Never been over a hundred pounds my whole life."
I'm humbled by how strong this person is. LSBW had struck what undoubtedly has to be a raw nerve, and she hadn't flinched, and more than that, she'd forgotten about it within minutes. "Well, I think you're awesome," I tell her. "You have a great character. You're doing great. Don't listen to that other stuff, it's not coming from anywhere."
"Oh , I know. Listen, if I'd a gotten out at Pine with her, she'd a been terrified. It's all good."
"Have a great night."
"I will. You too!"
We'd try to pick her up a little, Gent and I. But she didn't really need it.