Sunday, February 07, 2016

BUS STORY # 483 (Moving On)

Photo by Busboy

She’s just wrapping up a phone call when I get to the bus stop bench. I sit down and look south. I know perfectly well the bus isn’t due for another ten minutes, but being preoccupied by something in the opposite direction is my ceremonial gesture of granting the woman some privacy.

She finishes her call, puts the phone in her purse, then says, “This is a great day. I’m moving into a new apartment, and I’m really excited.”

I say something supportive, and she tells me how she had to get out of where she’s been living. She’s had spiders and cockroaches, there’ve been break-ins -- not her apartment, but all through the complex. She says she’s breaking her lease, but she doesn’t care, she’s had it. If they take her to court, she has her medical records showing all the spider bite treatments she’s needed since living there.

I ask her where “there” is. It’s a familiar name, a collection of apartments in the area with signage advertising cheap rents.

She asks me if I know when the bus is coming. She doesn’t usually ride this route, but she’s going to pick up her keys to her new place this morning.

I tell her the scheduled arrival time, and she tells me she’s enlisted her son to help her move into the new apartment next weekend. She was hoping for this weekend, but he and his wife had plans.

We talk about the weather. She says something that makes me think she hasn’t been here all that long.

In fact, she’s been here forty years. Came out here when she was 10, along with her mom and dad and a bunch of brothers and sisters and a dog and a cat.

The bus comes, but I find a seat across from her and ask her where she’d come from.

Long Island. They were on their way to Orange County, California, where her dad’s mother lived. But they ran out of money in Albuquerque.

Her dad found a job in just three days. Then they found a house, and some furniture, and here she is this morning.

She says her brothers and sisters have all gone back to visit, but she hasn’t. She doesn’t think she wants to because her family told her the school she went to is all closed up, and all the trees in her neighborhood have been cut down.

But she does have an old neighborhood friend who moved to upstate New York and who pesters her constantly about coming up to visit. But she just can’t afford a trip like that.

I ask if her friend would come out here.

No. She wants her to go up there.

Her stop comes up and she pulls the cord, wishes me well, and heads out the rear door. I wish her luck.

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