In my middle teens, except for when I was sick or when the calendar was marked in red, I took the bus to school everyday. I was in Italy back then, and the bus I usually took wasn’t a school bus. It was a regular city-bus, but in the mornings and evenings, it was full of students and a few adults going to and back home from work. The commute from Quartu Sant’Elena (where I lived) to Cagliari (where I went to school) was short, about 5 miles, but that translated into 40-45 minutes during rush hour.
That morning at about 7:40 the area surrounding the bus stop was crowded with students mostly about my age, some younger, some older–but either way taller!!–waiting for their ride.
I see the bus coming. It stops, and the driver opens the front, back, and center doors (exit only). I have a monthly pass, so I can choose from either the front or the back door. I pick the back door. Wow, it’s crowded. It’s a jungle. Still next to the door, I’m standing on the tip of my toes to see if, by chance, any of the lucky passengers who are sitting will be abandoning the bus soon, making a seat available. I’m ready to jump wherever I have to in order to win one of those prized seats. Competition is fierce, and it’s not a good day for me.
Seats are precious, I think. I give up the hope of finding a free seat, and I let myself down from my tiptoes. I relax. Then, I realize that the spot where I’m standing is not safe. At the next bus stop I will be swept by a new surge of students ready to push and fight to conquer a spot inside. I shyly make an attempt to move forward. It’s not easy, but I’m now determined. I keep going.
I’m tiny, and all those backpacks make every step harder. The bad looks and curses (!!!) from the people I bother as I’m trying to advance make me feel guilty. I keep going. I finally reach a spot where I can stand safely on two feet. For balance I grab a pole that was already covered by many other hands. I’m staring at the pole and at my own hand, when my attention is caught by the black marks on the fingertips of the hand above mine. Yuck! I rapidly move my hand away. Some kind of infection, I think.
That hand, I know now, had tattooed on it the marks from checking blood sugar many times a day, every day, maybe without changing lancets often enough.
A friend of mine checks her blood sugar on her ears and has beautiful “clean” fingertips. BTW, my husband thinks my hands are beautiful, too!! That’s the power of LoVe!!