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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bachelors Beware: Don't Tread on Women's Toes

I had spotted the woman in the gray fur coat at the bus stop. Her sad, sweet face seemed familiar, but she didn't notice me. Perhaps our paths had crossed in the past.

It was rush hour, and the bus was already packed when it pulled up, but we squeezed in through the rear door all the same. Along the way the other passengers moved around in such a way that I wound up in front of this mystery woman.

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Suddenly the bus lurched to a stop. I pitched forward, then backward, stepping on the woman's toes with my heel. She let out a scream and, before I could apologize, punched the man next to me in the back, shouting, "You bear!" He snapped back, calling her a "crazy she-bear."

I tried to clear things up, but to no avail. The other passengers couldn't help but take an interest in a show like that, and started shouting support for the bear or the she-bear. In the bustle I was pushed to the front of the bus away from the action. I didn't see the woman again until I got off at my stop. She was alighting through the rear door. I walked over and held out my hand. When she placed her kid-gloved hand in mine, I grasped it.

"Please forgive me, I was the one who stepped on your foot," I said.

"You!? Why, you bear!" Good day!" She waved me away and set off, disappearing around a corner.

I ran into her again several days later in the grocery store next to my building. I was behind her in the check-out line. When she had paid she stepped backward and stepped on my foot with the sharp heel of her boot. I screamed on purpose, though it wasn't all that painful. She turned around at once, and broke into laughter when she recognized me.

"I'm so sorry!" she said.

"Don't worry about it," I said. "We're even."

This time I walked out with her. It turned out that she lived nearby. It was then I remembered seeing her on a snowy hill where I was playing with my grandson, and she with hers. Our boys had been friends for some time. And now we had finally become acquainted as well. She had buried her husband a year before, while I had been a widower for three years and was dead against remarrying.

Not long ago Maria and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Am I happy? Absolutely. Is my life all smooth sailing? My wife's a journalist. What do you think? Maria not only turned my boring old bachelor lifestyle upside-down. She also discovered a certain knack for writing in this old naval officer, and introduced me to the world of journalism. And I've been writing ever since.

A warning to bachelors: Be careful when you're riding on public transportation not to step on women's toes. One thing can lead to another ...

Vladislav Schnitzer is a journalist and pensioner living in Moscow.