Sunday, June 19, 2011

BUS STORY # 241 (Shorts 20: Father’s Day)

Coming home from work by posterboy2007
Coming home from work, a photo by posterboy2007 on Flickr.


On the Rapid Ride, I’m sitting behind a father and daughter. He’s young, skinny. She must be five or six. She’s a blondie, with a pale yellow shirt. He’s a blondie, too, what we used to call “dirty blond.” He’s got a long, thin ponytail hanging out from beneath a yellow and green plaid driving cap which he’s wearing front-to-back. The sides of his head are shaved. He’s got a faded black sleeveless T-shirt, and on the back it says “One time at the fight club . . . ” He’s got the window seat, but he’s leaning his head toward his daughter and talking to her. “And you gotta say ‘please’ when you want something, and you say ‘thank you’ when somebody gives you something. It’s nice. You gotta be nice, OK? And ‘excuse me,’ when you bang into people like you did running down the aisle – hey, you listening to me?” She grabs his upper arm with both hands and pulls her head against him.

***

There are four of us at the bus stop. In front of me are two young guys, one in a parka with the hood up, the other with a baseball cap fitted backwards over a blue bandanna headscarf. The cap says “Native.” A thick black braid drops out of the cap and disappears into a black jacket. They’re smoking and talking. Beside them is a stroller, and inside the stroller, behind a pink ruffled windbreaker device, is a curious toddler. I think it’s a girl. She is looking all around, and spends some time taking me in. Then she starts to vocalize. The kid in the cap squats down in front of her and says, “Hello. Hello there.” He talks with her and doesn’t quit till she’s done. Then he goes back to his other conversation.

***

The kid’s gotta be pre-school. Way too big gray hoodie, way too big Carolina Panthers baseball cap. His dad is wearing a black nylon warmup suit. He’s listening to the guy across the aisle tell him if he doesn’t get the job he’s on his way to see about, to come and see him. He runs a bunch of those ice cream pushcarts and can always use reliable help. The kid is looking at a picture book. He puts his finger on one place in the picture and calls, “Dad!” Dad is explaining he’s already got a job but he needs a second one -- “Dad!” -- so he can move his son and him out of his grandmother’s house. The kid quits trying. He gives a little, croupy cough. Dad immediately leans over, touches his face to the top of the baseball cap, puts his hand on his son’s chest. “You OK? You OK?” The kid says he’s OK. Dad explains to the guy across the aisle that his son’s had a little virus going on. “You gotta watch those things, you know?”

***

The bus is packed. Standing in the back are a dad and his son. Dad’s a big dude, with a buzzed head and tattoos on his arms and legs. The kid looks around eight, with short hair and big brown eyes. A rider gets up and offers the kid his seat. The kid looks at his dad. “Go on, sit,” his dad tells him. The kid doesn’t say no or shake his head, but he balks. “Go on,” his dad repeats, putting some body language in it. The kid looks up at his dad. He still doesn’t move “C’mon, sit down,” his dad says again, sounding exasperated. The kid looks at the seat, then at the guy sitting in the other seat, then at his dad. He doesn’t move. His face is serious, and his big brown eyes are doing all the talking. Dad gets it. He pulls the kid close to him in a sideways hug, then takes his hand. They hold hands until two seats open and they sit down together.
__________

The photo at the top of this story is titled “Coming home from work” and is posted with the kind permission of posterboy2007. You can see this and all posterboy2007’s photos on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7146815@N06/2868863869

6 Comments:

Blogger Top-of-the-Arch said...

Busboy,
Happy Father’s Day to you.
Thanks for another excellent Sunday post. Your stories were so good that they made a “rough around the edges” 50-year old hockey maniac shred tears!
My Dad passed away in 2001 and yet the pains in my heart never went away. Each time I think of my Dad, I became a 10-year old holding my Dad’s hand real tight when we tried to get into the stadium for a sold-out soccer game in Sai Gon, Viet Nam. Currently, I am fighting a battle at work (management not taking appropriate action against repeated harassment) and I miss my Dad so much. I wish I was able to talk to him and he would give me guidance and tell me exactly what I should do.
Thanks again for wonderful stories. I appreciate you sharing and look forward to reading all your Sunday posts.
TOTA

8:15 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you, TOTA - it's always nice to hear from you. But it's not so nice to hear about your battles at work. Knowing your Dad was a hockey fan, I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that his advice to you would be to "get the puck outa there!"

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely warm collection. Happy Father's Day to you.
BBBH

9:41 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

My warm and fuzzies for the day... thanks!

12:42 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

@ Anonymous and Heather: Thanks to both of you for writing.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

It such a great celebration for all fathers out there.Great happening with father's together with their family bonding.

7:41 AM  

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