I ride the bus of small hope, surrounded by my little monkeys. Because they want everything but are given so little, they hope for nothing. Uncomfortable with what little we can give them, and because they ask for so little, to spare them we offer them nothing. When they give from their poverty to us in our abundance, they stun us with what we’re given. I used to buy three newspapers a day. Now, instead, five days a week I hold one page before me like a mirror and look for the truth of their hearts and every day come closer to reading not the news of the day but the unreflecting paper. The driver loves to tease them all with childish names despite their age and laughs when they tease him back. They call him Special. I am furniture, nameless as the world, scanning the paper between the lines, listening for the teaching moments. The blond one is waiting for me to escort her down the aisle. How does she know I’ll see her, that I’ll understand what she wants? She waits for me to put my paper down, to stand beside her and thread her arm through mine, to smile my substitute parent smile and be for her the cardboard dad who gives her away to the grinning boy with the spotty mustache. Her faith is dizzying. Where did she find so much to offer me? How does she know I’m there for her, already in attendance, figurative flower in my figurative buttonhole? I’m marrying Skanky, she tells me. See my ring? I had to ask him. Yes you are too, Skanky! This is a, my veil—at my uncle’s it’s a tablecloth really. Yes you are too, Mister Skanky. We are too going on a honeymoon!

Copyright © December 17, 2006 David Hodges

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