Sunday, September 20, 2015

BUS STORY # 463 (It’s Not Easy Living On Your Own)

Downloaded from Hark.

There is a stream of boarders at the San Mateo and Menaul stop. One of them, a little abuelita in a black coat, swings into the seat beside me. She overshoots, a soft banging into my shoulder and thigh, apologizes, and settles in.

Then she leans in and apologizes again. She knows some people wouldn’t like being crashed into, and she understands why this is. It’s just that she has this hangover which is giving her no peace, and she’s trying to avoid taking another drink because she’s an alcoholic and is trying to kick the habit, so she called her sister to meet her at the Albertson’s over on Coors, but her sister hasn’t called her back and she’s wondering if she should turn around and go back home if her sister hasn’t called her back by the time she reaches Central.

She doesn’t want to go back home because there’s nothing to do there but look at the four walls or at television which is the same thing and which only makes her want to take a drink. So she decided it would be better to go cruising. She thinks she could make the ride last longer if she catches the 66 rather than the Rapid down at Central.

She doesn’t know why her sister hasn’t called her back. They used to live together, but now her sister has her own place. Sometimes she just goes to the library nearby and reads. That takes her mind off drinking.

She also volunteers at her church. Every Tuesday, she goes in and helps sort through and organize donations -- sorting the clothes by size, rolling the socks -- and then stuffing the bags according to the list: two of this, three of that, one of those... It’s a good deal because when they are finished, they get to take home for themselves stuff like dish soap and toothpaste and shampoo, so she never finds herself running out of stuff.

I pull the cord for the Lomas stop. She swings her legs out into the aisle to let me by, but she keeps talking. She interrupts herself when I’m out in the aisle and wish her luck. “Good luck to you, too,” she replies. I kinda wish I wasn’t leaving her all by herself.


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