Sunday, September 07, 2014

BUS STORY # 409 (Mom?)

The light is on... by busboy4
The light is on..., a photo by busboy4 on Flickr.

A cell phone tone goes off in the back of the bus. A girl’s voice answers. Nothing unusual.  What makes me look up a minute or so later is the sound of quiet adolescent male laughter – insider laughter, the kind that makes a grown-up wonder “What are those boys up to?”

It takes a minute to figure out they are laughing at a female classmate who is on the cell phone that must be the one I heard a couple of minutes ago.  I can’t see her from where I’m sitting. But I can see what I presume are her classmates, all guys, sniggering at her from across the aisle.

It must be something about the call.

I’m running through a list of possible sources of embarrassment – a prank call, an unwanted suitor, a parent – when I hear her say, “Yes, mom.”  The embarrassed exasperation in her voice is timeless.

While I am thinking this has got to be one of those “Don’t forget” conversations between mom and daughter, I become aware someone else is talking on her phone at the front of the bus, and that her conversation seems to fall into a call-and-response pattern with the girl in the back of the bus.

I look forward and see an older woman sitting on the bench seat behind the driver, talking on her phone and looking toward the back of the bus.

Like one of those compact florescent light bulbs, nothing happens in the first split second.  Then, in the few seconds it takes to go from dim to bright, a connection is made...

And now the kids are all exiting at the Monzano stop, and I see a girl among four boys. She isn’t holding anything up to her ear, and I can’t see if there’s a cell in her hand or not.

I look back at the woman in the front of the bus. She’s not looking at the back door. She’s looking at her purse where she is putting her phone back.

Mom?

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