Every Friday on the drive in to school, I see the same man standing alone at a bus stop. I can’t remember the first time I saw him, but I do remember my first thought: “Mr. Fredrickson!”
From the white hair atop the squarish face to the squarish dark glasses to the slightly too high belt over brown pants, he looks like a real life version of the Mr. Fredrickson from the Pixar movie Up. Unlike the Mr. Fredrickson in the movie, this one always has a full-sized, black umbrella and black brief case tucked under his arm. He always seems to wear the same neutral colors: a white button up shirt and dark pants. I tried to draw him, but I can’t do him justice.
I first saw him three years ago. It used to be every Tuesday and Friday, but when my teaching schedule changed this school year, so did the times I drove in, so I only get to see him Fridays now. But he is there every Friday around the same time. I’d be willing to bet he’s there every day.
I always wonder where he’s going. I used to wonder if he’s a professor since he stands right by a private college, but there’s no way he’s finished teaching by the time I see him each morning. Perhaps he goes to the big library downtown. He strikes me as the type who could sit and read for hours.
Usually when I pass by, he’s peering past the winding line of cars to spot the bus. But sometimes, I feel like he actually looks back at me. I wonder if he sees how excited I get every time I pass by or notices that I always wish him a good morning as I pass by with my windows up. I wonder if he makes up stories about me the same way that I make up stories about him and if he wonders where I’m headed at the same time every Friday morning. Maybe he’s made up a name for me too and secretly wishes me a good morning as well.
An update: I drove in at a different time today, on a Thursday. Guess who was waiting patiently at the bus stop.