“a rose in philly” by bsp

I got to the bus station early so I would be there when my daughters bus arrived..the hard wooden benches resembled church pews...so I walked around for something to do.....as I headed toward the rest room to freshen up I noticed a middle age woman...and noticed that she noticed me...i stopped by the soda machine and asked “would you like something cool to drink?” “a diet coke would be nice” she answered in a soft voice.....i got an ice tea and a diet coke ...and sat down next to her...

her blond wig nearly covered her left eye and moved as she blinked her long painted lashes.....her attractive face was lined from years of laughing or crying or both....her full lips were painted red and a little smeared...i tried not to look at her ample cleavage...or spend too much time scoping out her long shapely legs which she generously displayed in her short skirt..

“Goin on a trip?” I asked....”no...just waiting for someone” she answered...”i'm bob” as I reached out my hand...”i'm rose....nice to meet ya”....”i'm waitin for my daughter...she's gonna visit for a few days...she loves philly”...

“I have a daughter” with some excitement in her voice she reached into her bag for a photo album...

she carefully laid the 5x7 album on her lap and reverently opened it to the first pic....(a very young girl in a dance costume) the girl got older with each turn of the pages...until she was pictured in a graduation cap n gown....”she's beautiful” I said “just like her mama”....she paused sat up straight and looked me in the eye...”i'm savin up to go to her wedding in newark...all I need now is a ticket”...i'll stay in the back and she won;t even know i'm there...she doesn't know I work the streets”....”she probably doesn't even know i'm still alive”...”i'll be right back” I said as i purposely walked to the ticket counter....and returned in a few minutes ”Here's a round trip ticket to newark and a fiver to get something to eat on the way”...”how can I repay you? ” she asked through tear-filled eyes...”here's a card with my phone number”....she sat trembling and seemingly embarrassed ...so I quietly excused myself and went to the men's room stopping to browse through the magazines....

as I made my way back to the bench...i saw that she was gone....maybe she's in the restroom....so I leafed through a magazine and waited.....when she didn't return...i went to the ticket window and asked if they saw her....”you lookin for rose?” one of the workers asked...”she cashed in a ticket and went out those doors”....”did she show you the pictures...n told ya about the weddin?” a ticket man said with a big grin...”mr. u been had.....yes sir...rose got ya”....

feeling a little stupid I went outside to wait for my daughters bus n get some air....it was a nice cool night in philly...the smell of hot pretzels drifted from a street cart...the city noises and the city lights made me think of home...i zipped up my jacket.....swallowed my pride...a rose in philly has some thorns...but then....don't we all?...I wish her well!