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The Wheels of the Bus

Silent snowflakes.  Huge, silent snowflakes; like angel dust.  A blanketing silence came down inside legions and legions of snowflakes.

I, stray-pedestrian, became no more distinct than the signpost I shouldered.  If I was cold, I didn't know it.  My eyes just couldn't stop watching the snow ...fall.  I felt cell structures collapsing inside me, and my spirit lifted up like a foam.

We buried my mother this morning.  The wake was at eight.  The funeral was at nine.  My father fell asleep in the pew beside me, yet somehow, he still managed to pay for everything; the wake, the funeral, the limo, the burial; even the crypt mother was so neatly slid into.  And now he will pay the real debt .....

And once this had all taken place, to the setting of the headstone on her slot, my brother placed the final flower arrangement in front of mother's crypt.  The clock tower in the cemetery struck twelve noon.  Twelve bells rang out in echoes that follow me each and every day of my life; and that's when it started to snow.

For some odd and antisocial reason, I can't be around people when I'm about to fall apart.  No hugging.  No comforting words, please.  My skin starts to crawl.  My mind starts to race.  And I can't get away fast enough.....

.....Which is how I ended up here, at the bus stop, watching snow fall.  This snow layered sidewalk looks more like a pathway to heaven.  Only an imprint of the sidewalk remains etching and sketching appear on the snow atop the bumps and grooves in the walkway.

It's almost as is I've found my very own gentle and soundless burial plot as I wait for the bus to arrive.  This snow -like dust- it falls, it lands, it packs, and covers; and now I am a footless form.

I stood there and thought about how easy it was to just disappear from the gathering -my family, still at the cemetery.  Slipping further and further away, quietly, and unnoticed.  One moment I've wandered alongside a random tree, and the next moment ...I'm here.

After five minutes passed, I actually managed to convince myself that I am indeed waiting on the next bus to take me somewhere; as if this stop had already been scheduled for my day on a calendar.

And why can't this be my reality for now; modified, though it may be.  The bus knows I'm here.  It even expects me -expects SOMEONE to be here.  Why not me?  I was there ...and now I'm here.  Big deal.

A part of me, restless to distance myself from that former reality, wants to walk on to the next bus stop; but that would defeat my new found purpose as patron awaiting her ride.  So what if the snow buries me.  It's just a blizzard.  Everything is continuing on as usual.  Slower than usual maybe.  Funny how people get so pensive when it snows.

Cars creeping along the street like dusty, metal turtles.

"He had the nerve to let his head nod off and onto my shoulder.  I felt white lightening shoot through my frozen form seated on the pew.  My elbow had jabbed his side -a reflex of anger tinged in rage.

Passengers sat like mannequins, eyes glazed over in shimmers of snow.  The street was jammed in traffic.  Snow plows had no where to go.  Tires skidded and skirted up to traffic lights atop the sparkle of light, fluffy snow.

I wanted to scream.  I wanted to run up to those clumsy cars with their comatose drivers and kick at their doors, pound on their windshields, spit on the hoods.  And so I just keep watching the snow fall, focused on each falling flake.

"He didn't sleep at all last night.  How could he have; on the eve of the last and final day he would see her."

A hush seemed to take hold of the city; honking horns, rumbling exhausts and rushing pedestrians be damned.

"My half sister -her voice- kept whispering to me, 'He killed her, you know.  Your crazy bastard father killed her, you know."

"I am the indistinct figure standing in the snow, and if I'm cold, I just don't know."

Privileged Patron, I am ...a chauffeur and a vehicle as big as a house is about to take me where I want to go.  I will climb up and out of this angel dust grave then; if it's the last thing I do.

Mom was a Christian through and through.  She tamed that heathen father of mine.  She did the very best she could.  And yet still, something was missing.  Something went completely askew.

I wanted to think that she looked down on me now, at this bus stop; that she was still there to soothe my forsaken spirit.  I was tired of shifting perspectives for "those people," and this was the ultimate offense.

The street marker to my right said "Michigan/4th Avenue", and the snow stuck to the letters.  It would be completely unreadable in fifteen more minutes.  The few pedestrians who passed by me were bundled in coats, wrapped in scarves, hands sealed in gloves.  No faces were visible.

I, on the other hand, never liked hats or head coverings, and so my head was bare.  Gloves and scarves were unnecessary with a quality coat, and so I had neither.  But I left my coat in the car at the cemetery.  A green sweater, black slacks, black purse, black shoes was all I had on.  My hair, combed into a neat black bob, was now packed with snow.

When I saw the bus coming, I actually had this wild thought to step out onto the curb just as the bus pulled up to the stop.  The thought was not unlike the one that saw me ducking behind that tree in the cemetery, and ending up here.  But then I thought, what if she's watching?  What if she's still here?

I remember as a child, when waiting for the bus, how warm and welcoming a sight it was when the bus was approaching.  That feeling of this big ole vehicle coming to get me.  The strong and steady roll of its engine, the whoosh of its exhaust, the smell of the diesel, the squeal of its brakes stopping before me.  I liked buses.  They felt safe.  And still, it would just be so easy to step off the curb.

Mom talked in bible verses.  She talked them as fluently as her everyday greetings.  That's how she tamed him.  A word here, a word there.  He never even knew he was being reprogrammed into the most decent version of who he could be.

The snow was as deep as the curb now, the bus mere footsteps away.  So slow ...everything was moving so slow.  I watched the bus tire treads roll white, then black, then white, with little rods of snow popping in and out of the treads.

What if she was watching?

       "Peace I leave with you ...

The wheels of the bus

        My peace I give unto you ...

go round and round,

        not as the world giveth

round and round

        give I unto you.

round and round.

        Let not your heart

The wheels of the bus

        be troubled;

go round and round

        neither let it be

all through the town.

       ...afraid."

I heard the doors of the bus open.  I heard my footsteps up and onto the bus.  I heard the change drop into the meter, and I knew ..she was there.

 

THE END