|Take the Bus|
Ten more days…only ten more days…Rosalie heard this phrase in her mind with each bus stop, with each passenger trundling off the bus and new passengers pulling themselves aboard. Her smile greeted them with each closing of the door. Ten more days.
After all these years, Rosalie had come to know their names, their lives with all the good and bad, and how they aged as she followed them wrinkle for wrinkle. Now, retirement marched closely: Ten more days.
Then a new passenger, pretty young woman clutching her bag and books to her chest, leaped upon the steps. Looking over her shoulder, pretty woman caught the glare of an angry man racing after the bus. “You bitch! Get yourself out here!” He screamed her name, “Cassie!”
“You okay, baby?” Rosalie closed the door and pulled away from the bus stop, brakes and hydraulics singing. She saw in the mirror other passengers, faces creased and worried. Young Woman looked up, face bruised and tears creasing. “Cassie?”
No story needed.
“We all been there, Sweet Child…Bastard needs a good whuppin’…We keep you safe here, Baby…” Slowly a smile crept across Cassie’s face.
Day after day, Cassie raced faster and faster, the Bastard drawing closer and closer. Day after day, the Bus Family held her, carried her to safety.
Then one day, on Day Ten, Bastard gripped Cassie’s arm, backhanding her soft face.
The bus door opened, with Rosalie flying out, facing the Bastard nose to nose. Following close behind, the Bus Family surrounded, encircling him tightly. Rosalie lightly rested her hands on Cassie’s shoulders, whispering, “You tell him, girl. You don’t need him anymore. We’ll take you in.”
Words bottled up burst out and nailed the Bastard for every sin that was his. The circle tightened when Cassie gave him a right cross. “You get your crap outta my apartment before I get back…”
The Bus Family climbed back on, each one shoving or kicking him. We take care of our own…
Rosalie smiled inwardly. I’ll tell the company I’ll stay for a few more months….