Slurry of Stories
Her hair looks like hair I’ve seen before. The colors in the braids go nicely. It would have been easy to listen to music, stare out the window, and daydream. I just got done babysitting. True, Molly is a terror to her parents but I just let her jump in puddles and she’s pretty much set for the rest of the day. I have to ride the bus an hour there and back and the pay’s not that great.
Maybe I haven’t seen this that much in real life. I’m two rows behind this couple and their young son who looks too tired to do anything but keep his eyes on his mom. He’s so bundled up he can’t even turn his head. They’ve all got really nice clothes on. She talks a lot, facing the guy directly. She shifts the kid to her left hip so that I can’t see him anymore. The guy looks annoyed, like he’s turning his mind into a sieve to semiconsciously do the work of filtering what she’s saying. I’m still listening to music and I can’t really read lips. Now she looks annoyed too. Maybe she believes if she keeps talking, he will look at her. He wipes his mouth. He gets out his phone and makes a call and she’s still talking.
I glanced out the window for a moment and when I look back…did that just happen?
She pulled her coat and shirt down at the shoulder and he tucked a roll of bills underneath her bra strap. Then she handed him an old, crumpled bill from her pocket. I don’t understand.
Now they’re not talking at all. Nat King Cole comes on my headphones. ‘Send For Me’.
An old man and woman get on at Stark. He is leathery and she is jittery. The row in front of me is empty, so they take it. They look and smell like they might be homeless. I can’t exactly hear what they’re saying, although the muffled stream of their voices is the only thing besides the rumble of the bus that I can hear outside my headphones. They laugh a lot and she puts her head on his shoulder. The bus is jerky but his shoulder is steady. I can see his reflection smiling in the window.
The young couple gets off at the next stop. The little boy looked disoriented as his mom carried him off.
Division. That’s my stop.