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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Common Ground

His name was Ishmel, and I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t a book, and his momma could tell you the same. I was but 17 years old waiting in the clammy bus station in the middle of the night for the next greyhound heading east. His bus wouldn’t arrive for hours, and he was heading west. Walla Walla was his destination. 

It started out casual. Do you have change for a dollar? What are you reading? Where do your travels take you? It progressed into discussions on classic literature, spiritual beliefs, and taste in music.

I’ve always been skeptical at best when it comes to strangers, but a sixth sense told me Ishmel was not to be feared. We spent three long hours together bonding over late buses, vending machine dinners, and watered down coffee that barely qualified as such.

When my bus finally arrived we bid adieu after exchanging mailing addresses to stay in touch. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from Ishmel, but the letters we exchanged for years are forever engraved as fond memories. He was my first real pen pal, and the stories we exchanged were adventures worth telling. 

 This is a Flicker of Inspiration writing prompt from The Lightning and the Lightning Bug. Your assignment this week is "Common Ground", and I'm leaving it pretty open to interpretation. You can tell about an actual time when you found unexpected common ground with a stranger, by coincidence or just trying to get to know each other, or you can make up a circumstance where two people who actually have no common ground meet each other and maybe get along?


  1. Sweet. Makes me think about people I have met along the way on my travels.

  2. This brought me right back to my Greyhound riding days. I am supa glad they are behind me, but there were some adventures and some characters along the way.

  3. Oh, he is a higher quality than my fellow passengers on Greyhounds of the past! I am glad you found a friend on your journey.

  4. Oh, how I miss the innocence of pen pals and the trust we used to have in chatting with strangers at bus stops...

  5. What a totally neat way to make a new friend. In the pre-plugged in era, having someone to visit with in the airport or bus station made all the difference in the world.

  6. This...I miss. These days, these times. Trust, friendship, adventures...and pen pals. Lovely piece, thanks for sharing. And you need to go write to Ishmel.

  7. Brilliant. Your first line was perfect and had me rolling! I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love your writing style. It's so genuine and relate-able. Your voice is one I love reading or "hearing" or whatever.

    And this was an awesome scene. It's encounters like these that make life so fun and unexpected. Great job! And thanks for linking up :)

  8. Thank you all for the kind comments. You really are too good to me. And I agree with all of you who said you miss the days when talking to someone in a bus station was okay. Because, yep, those days are over. At least I have the memories. (And all of you online blogger friends! Maybe someday we'll all meet in a bus station. Or you know, bar.)


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