Sunday, June 16, 2013

BUS STORY # 345 (Daddy's Girl)

"Untitled," © All Rights Reserved, a photo by Caitlin Gibson, on Flickr. 

When we stop for a wheelchair, the guy in front, sitting in the bench seat behind the driver with a stroller and a kid, heads to the back.

He’s a young guy, long blond hair and a dark blond beard. The child is somewhere between two and three, I’d say; a blondie like her daddy, with very red, round cheeks.

He takes the bench seat by the back door, where I am sitting.

From the moment he sits down until he gets off, he is talking to Crissy* pretty much non-stop, and most of it is a variation on “Don’t!”

Don’t put your hands in my pocket.

Don’t throw that on the floor. I’m gonna take it away from you if you keep doing that.

Don’t bounce on daddy, Crissy. Can’t you please sit down and be quiet?

It’s a southern voice. Tennessee is what I’d guess.

His daughter is a non-stop handful.

Cris, don’t be pulling daddy’s hair. I gotta look good in court today or the judge isn’t gonna be happy with me. Crissy!

The woman across the aisle from us turns in her seat to get a look at him. Her eyes radiate disapproval. And then I see she’s got Bette Davis eyes. Not the eyes of the song; the mature Bette Davis which, I now understand, is why they radiate disapproval.

After a long look, she turns and faces forward again.

Daddy is telling Crissy it’s not polite to put your hands in other people’s pockets. She must have been listening because she puts them somewhere else.

Cris! I told you don’t be pulling on my hair.

He grabs her under her arms and lifts her up in the air.

Why can’t you be a good girl?

She’s laughing and having a good ol’ time.

He brings her down so she’s standing in his lap, and then he starts tickling her. She is laughing and twisting every which way.

You want me to stop, Crissy? Huh? You want daddy to stop tickling you? You don’t like being tickled? Well that’s how daddy feels when you won’t do what he asks you to do. How do you like that, huh?

He tickles her a little more, then stops. Bette Davis has once again turned in her seat and her eyes are bearing down on dad. If looks could kill...

The little girl is hugging her daddy. Her right hand goes to his shirt pocket.


When they get off, he wheels the carriage to the door with his left hand. He’s carrying Crissy in his right arm. He stops and looks toward the driver.

“Thank you very much driver. You have a good day.”

Bette Davis turns toward the window and follows him until we’ve pulled away from the curb and down the street to where he is out of sight.

There are two stories in here I’d love to have had, and I spend the time until my own stop imagining what they might be, and how they have intertwined here on the bus.


*Real name changed.


The photo at the top of this story is titled “Untitled,” © All Rights Reserved, and is posted with the permission of Caitlin Gibson. You can see all Caitlin Gibson’s photos on Flickr here.


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