“About time we reached my stop. Any hour on a train is an hour ill spent, and I’ve wasted enough of them as it is.” The bear shook his watch at Molly. “How am I supposed to make time with this annoying piece of garbage! A man can only own and fix so many watches for himself.”
“If you dislike the piece so much, why not throw it away?”
“Throw it away? A fine pocket watch such as this?”
“But it doesn’t work, and you can’t fix it.”
“Oh what do you know about watches, silly girl!”
What a stubborn old bear. That’s really all he is, isn’t he? A grumpy old man with too much time on his hands. I was so nervous to sit with him when I first started out, but why? He looked interesting, a bear in a blue jacket with a pocket watch, but frankly he’s not so curious after all.
When I first sat with him, the bear told me all about himself, and because he thought himself so interesting, I did too.
He perceived himself that way, and I did as well.
“It’s kind of a circle, isn’t it?” Molly mused aloud.
The bear looked at the watch resting in his great paw. “Well naturally,” he mumbled, confused.
We can’t help being an individual. Unique little details compose us, whether it’s because we’re wearing a gaudy hat, we’re unable to speak, or just really love painting—all these details seem perfectly natural to us.
But to everyone else, how strange they must seem! How does he live his life, unable to speak? How on earth did that woman get into the business of making birdhouses? Why would they even invite a flamingo to a funeral?
Little details that seem perfectly natural to us make us interesting to everyone else.
“Though you know, I have seen some watches done in squares. Squares, can you imagine that? The face was still a circle, but the body was a shiny gold cube. Ugliest thing I ever saw.”
I do something because I like it, and that makes me interesting to you. You think I’m interesting, so I begin to think I’m interesting too.
If you don’t think I’m interesting, maybe I’ll do something spectacular to get your attention.
“Now a triangle, that’s just ridic—”
Someone tapped at the door, and the attendant smiled in at them. “Passengers are allowed to leave the train now. Please be sure to pick up any baggage you may have brought with you, and enjoy your stay at our current stop.”
“Not a moment too soon,” the bear groaned, standing.
Molly remained seated. She still had another stop or two to go.
The bear turned and held his hand out politely. “It was nice meeting you… uh…” His face might have colored beneath his fur as he realized he didn’t know her name.
The young woman looked at the old bear’s hand, then lightly shook it. “Molly. My name is Molly. I’m going to visit my sister, who speaks far too loudly, and her husband whose teeth are too white (it’s disturbing, you should see), and her children that, God love my sister, she just can’t control. But, like my boss says, there’s no sense trying to stifle the youth because the crazy will just come out later when it’s less appropriate. She flunked at being a nun, she should know about crazy. Anyway, goodbye.”
The bear said nothing, turned, and left. He bumbled through the narrow corridor, then stepped onto the platform. A moment later, the train was whistling and hissing and lumbering onwards again.
What a very strange girl, the bear thought.