Once upon a time, there was a school bus stop. The neighborhood near the school bus stop was a quiet one, although the rows of houses in the little development were quite cozy and close together. Every day, anywhere between five and ten children gathered at this school bus stop, ranging between five and ten years old, and they waited together each morning with their parents for the yellow bus to arrive.
One of those children was different from the rest; instead of acting like the other children, jumping and giggling and chasing the other children in tag, she watched. An audience of one, she observed every nuance; every word spoken loudly or softly, every bird flying above, every car driving by. The bus stop was at the intersection of a busy road, so she had to wait for the cars to pass so she could observe the interesting houses across the road which stood all by themselves on little mats of grass, like the special kindergarten mat she had in school a couple years ago. Each house occupied just enough space to exist but not enough space to be noticed--much.
One day, the little girl was at the bus stop again and saw that the small white house across the road had its curtains opened for the first time ever. There was an old man standing at the window, watching for the school bus, too. He looked across at the children and looked at his watch. When the bus finally arrived, the man looked at the children again, lifted his arm, and waved. He waved to each one of those children as they got on the bus, and then he closed the curtain.
The afternoon came and the school bus returned back to the neighborhood. The girl got off the bus and looked back across the busy road. The curtains were open again. The man waved again. She glanced over but didn’t respond.
The next day, the old man was at the window again when the morning bus arrived. He waved as each of the children got on the bus. And then the curtains were closed again. When the afternoon bus dropped the children back home, she noticed the curtains were open again and the man waved a greeting.
The third morning, the old man was at the window. He opened the curtains and stood at the window. Waiting. Again. The bus was a little late this morning. The girl looked across and saw him checking his watch and checking back at the road. And waiting. This time, the man waved from the window but the bus wasn’t there yet. Hesitantly, she waved back. When the bus came, he waved as each of the children got on the bus. The bus driver noticed the old man, too, and gave a friendly honk as he took off.
Several months went by. The old man was at the window almost every morning, and when the curtains were drawn, the children finally expected him to wave to them. They all waved back now. They actually noticed.
One day, the girl said to her mother at the bus stop: “We should visit him one day.” Her mother said, “Fine, honey; let’s do that some time.”
Two more weeks went by and the girl said it again. “We should visit the old man one day.” Her mother said “Okay. We’ll go over together after school today.”
That afternoon, the girl and her mother went across the road. They went to visit the old man. The butterflies in the girl’s stomach were jumping and giggling as she knocked on the door. And the old man answered the door.
The girl and her mother found out that the old man had a wife who died two years before; he was alone and said he remembered that someone waved to him at his school bus stop when he was a little kid. And so he passed the heritage on.
The next morning, the girl went to the school bus stop. The first thing she did was wave to the man in the window. Then she jumped and giggled and chased the other children in tag. And the man watched and smiled. And the girl noticed.