Friday, 5 December 2014

Under a custard sky (write of passage number thirty-four)

If we don't make it out of the house by 7:30, we won't get the #5 Mackenzie King Bridge. We don't, so we must resign ourselves to the #5 Billings Bridge.

The back of the articulated bus is crammed with middle school students. I assume they're middle school students -- I know the classes at Lisgar Collegiate, where elder daughter went to high school, won't begin for more than an hour after the bus passes the building on Elgin Street.  Also, every second word of every shouted sentence, is f***, a sure sign of what passes for middle school conversation.

The Resident Fan Boy and younger daughter take a side seat near the back door, leaving me to stand and gaze meaningfully at a barely adolescent boy sitting with his back to the window, knees drawn up, feet and packsack on the empty space next to him.  He can only ignore me for so long, so I sit down with the same enthusiasm he displays as he clears a space.

Now I must cast around for a way to survive this first twenty minutes of six hours I'll spend in transit today.  Younger daughter's lift to school has been suspended as her schoolmate spends two weeks in South Africa. It will take an hour and a half to escort her to Bells Corners, the same back, and another round trip in the afternoon to retrieve her.

As the profanities fly, I look past my unwilling seat mate to the sky outside which, this morning, is the colour of custard.  As the bus rolls through Sandy Hill and turns at Strathcona Park, the sun fights its way free of the horizon and collides with a cigar-shaped cloud, spilling gold on either side.

The young boy is now occupied in yelling playfully at an older girl and boy sitting in front.  Their responses are perfunctory, so he kneels on the seat and presses energetically on the backs of their necks.

I manage to avoid his rocking elbows and catch the eye of a bearded fella who is standing near my husband and daughter on the lower level.  I cast my eyes heavenward and I see a smile flicker across his face.

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