I’m not used to taking the city bus, but my car broke down, so I was going to the shop to pick it up then drive back home. I thought the experience of a bus ride would be kind of nostalgic and bring back some old times when it was my way of getting around town when I was younger.
I would call just to make sure I knew which one to take, where to catch it and how much the fare would be.
The next day I walked down to where I was supposed to be at and stood there at the right time.
Making sure I was having the right amount of change ready as the approaching bus slowed to a stop.
I got on, step up, putting my bus fare in the fare slot. Then I’d noticed the bus driver’s name ID tag was Cecil. I had an uncle named Cecil once, but he had died when I was just twenty. He sort of looked like him except he was skinnier and didn’t have a mustache. I just put it out of my mind and didn’t think about it much more.
I started my way through the isle, not knowing whom I might be stuck sitting with.
Ah, an empty seat, feeling the sense of luck. Now I have the control of who sits next to me.
Not really, I thought. Even though I knew the little control I did have was all depending on how I would present myself when someone would decide to sit down in the seat with me, besides I didn’t want someone strange or weird sitting there.
We came up to another bus stop in front of a grocery store, an elderly woman got on. Putting her bags down as she was paying her fare she looked around. I caught her looking at my seat, great! There are plenty of others, please sit in one of those. I thought loudly to myself.
I turned toward the window, just kept looking outside. Then it happened. She sat down, right next to me.
She smelled of grandma perfume. It wasn’t to bad I thought, I suppose I can tolerate it for a little while, I hope she’s not going very far.
Her perfume kind of reminded me of my grandmother and couple of great aunts, I thought of them once in awhile and missed them very much.
They would tell me some of their funniest stories of growing up. They had all passed on when I was a teenager.
She started talking to me. She seemed to be a sweet old lady. She would talk about her family from long ago. She had two sisters name Kathryn and the other one named Jessie. Her sister Kathryn had a large family and that she had spent a lot of time with and enjoyed her sister’s grandchildren she had missed them for so many years.
Well young man, it was nice talking to you. This is my stop up here, Winslow Avenue; this is where I get off.
Yes, it was nice talking to you too. Then I hesitated. With her hand on my shoulder she said. My name is Ester Gaitland.
She had step off the bus and went to the white picket fence gate, in front of a white-clapboarded styled cottage.
The bus pulled away, I thought how much of a coincidence was that.
That was my great aunts and grandmother’s names. My grandmother had a large family.
I spent my childhood with them, some of my fondest memories.
When I got home. I called the transit company. The man there was pretty helpful, at first.
Well sir, he said. We have no one that works here named Cecil. And like I said I check! There is no street in the city anywhere named Winslow Avenue.
And there is no buses scheduled at that stop where you got on at, on the hour. They are fifth teen minutes after and fifth teen minutes till the hour each day.
I don’t know what else to tell you, sir.
A couple of days later I drove where the old woman got off the buss at and looked for that quaint cottage with the picket fence.
As puzzled as I was, it was a vacant field and there was no bus stop anywhere there.
Every now then I think about that bus ride.
I had never ridden a bus since and I don’t think I will be able to again.