According to the scrolling marquee at the front of the bus, today’s date is 10/23/34.
I turn away from it, return to my Springtime Revelry, required of all Minneapolitans, wherein we gaze lovingly at the green, green, green of a well-deserved spring.
It’s October, 2034, you say.
I feel as if I should be more concerned about that. My bills, for instance. Am I current?
Or perhaps it’s 1934, in which case I am earlier for work than I’ve ever been.
I am struggling with which scenario I prefer when the bus comes to a stop. A young woman settles into the seat next to me.
I wait. It’s been a full two seasons since I’ve last seen her. Does she still do it? Will she do it now? I can wait for – I pull out my phone, check the time. I can wait for another nine minutes.
I got all morning, lady.
And just like that, my patience is rewarded. She opens her purse, pulls out a small zippered bag from which she pulls out a small bottle. From this bottle she squeezes perfect, candy-button sized daubs of lotion onto her fingertips. Dab. Dab dab dab. The ends of her fingers dance, lightly, across her cheeks, her chin, up on to her forehead and down the line of her nose. Dab. She isn’t rubbing. She isn’t smoothing. It’s far more delicate than that. Her fingertips touch delicately upon her flesh. She is young, she is moderately attractive, and dagnabit, her skin is hydrated and dewy and it’s going to stay that way.
I look out the window. I want to stop her, want to tell her that she is going to look as young as she does right up until she doesn’t, that with bone structure like hers, moderate attention to her diet and exercise, she will be judged much younger than she is, right up until she isn’t.
I look back, quickly, to see her carefully, oh so carefully, massaging the lotion into her face. She doesn’t stop until two minutes before I get off the bus.
What year is it?
It’s both sooner and later than we think it is.