When you catch the same bus every morning, you tend to see the same few people every time. Last winter, for example, there was one little boy and his mom that I often used to see. The little guy always wore a red toque and his mom was usually cleaning his glasses or tightening his scarf.
It took me a while to realize the mom walks with a permanent limp. Her right knee doesn’t bend all the way, making it difficult to walk, never mind run.
And yet I’ve seen her rush across the street to try and catch the bus. She could probably send her boy on ahead but she grips his hand tightly crossing the road. Safety first … and always.
We’ve never spoken but I almost said hi to them this morning when they appeared beside me on the corner. I was waiting for the light to change. The bus stop was on the other side, about half a block from the corner.
Junior was still wearing his round spectacles. But instead of his red toque, parka and two-mile scarf, he was outfitted in a snappy brown baseball cap and matching T-shirt and jacket. His backpack was red, though.
As we waited there, the bus pulled up beside us. I tried to catch the driver’s eye to signal that we needed him to stop on the opposite corner. If we couldn’t make it and there were no passengers disembarking, he wouldn’t have to stop at all.
It would take a mad lightning dash for me to make it to the stop in time. And there was no way my mother-and-son pals could catch it.
But sometimes it takes an impending crisis to get the adrenaline flowing and that light bulb to go off over your head … okay, for me, it’s more of a nightlight.
In the few seconds it took for the Don’t Walk sign to flash to Walk, I’d come up with a foolproof plan. As soon as I got the green light … literally … I’d race to the other side, get to the stop and when the doors of the bus opened, I’d ask the driver to wait for Junior and his mom.
The green walking symbol appeared in the box, then everything seemed to move in slow motion. I leapt to the pavement and tried to outrun the bus but my feet felt as though they were made of lead. I wasn’t going to make it.
But then a miracle happened. A tall blonde lady appeared out of nowhere and stood at the bus stop. So the driver now had to brake. I could have hugged the tall blonde lady (don’t worry, I didn’t).
I kept racing, however, and got to the door just as the lady got on. Panting like Seabiscuit, I tried to tell the driver the mom and son were right behind me but ended up miming the whole thing like some sort of public transit Marcel Marceau.
He got the message, however, and they did manage to get on in time. I really must start training for these events.
P.S. Guess what? There’s actually a Part II to this story that I’ll continue tomorrow. Don’t you just love sequels? No? How about long intermissions? Anyway, please stay tuned…
P.P.S. I saw The Hollies live waaaay back in the 1970s. By then, Graham Nash had gone on to CSN&Y, though. Enjoy!