“Excuse me, will this bus ever be coming?” The man looked at her, but how should she have any idea? She sat here almost every day wondering the same thing.
“I guess it will get here when it gets here, sir.” her voice was low and she was uninterested in starting a conversation with this man.
“I was told I should be here at noon” he looked at the other people with concern on his face, “Is that the correct time?” He wondered how they could be so laid back all the time.
She turned to him and said, “Sometimes the engine gets too hot coming over the pass and they must wait until later in the day when it cools down. Then they can come down without them brakes getting too hot.”
“Yes, but will it be much longer? I have a flight to catch.”
“I really can’t say sir, there is never any way to know and so we must wait.”
“Thank you, and I am sorry to bother you, it’s just that I have been told my son is sick and I must return home immediately.” When he said this his brow furrowed into deep lines and his worry was intense. She thought to herself that he looked like he was wishing the bus would come as much as anyone she’d ever seen.
“I am sorry sir, things are just very slow here. The bus will come, it always does, but I cannot say when. And I wish your son well; having a sick child is always quite frightening.”
“Thank you and yes; yes, it is indeed, and I am aware that things are very slow here.” His voice wavered slightly, “that’s the reason I came here, to be honest.”
It was a waste of time to talk to this man and she knew it, but she asked him anyway, “And where are you from sir?” The breeze was pleasant today and strong enough to keep the temperature right on the edge of where she liked it. This man surely was strange to be here at a time like this. She wondered what he would have been like before, in the good days.
“He is damned sick,” he said, “It’s happened before with him; they say I must come immediately.” Preoccupied by the heat, he didn’t notice the breeze. It wasn’t much but it blew small gusts from the west. The man sat hanging his head.
“The bus will come sir; you mustn’t worry, it is just that things are slow here.”
“I know” He said, his head hanging even lower, “that’s part of the reason I came.”
He never expected when he was younger that this is how it would end. Although he knew it wasn’t truly the end, he just felt closer to the end now than when he was younger. Now he could hear the sound of the clock, counting the seconds in his race against time.
“He will get better I am sure; the last time they said it might happen again, but I pray he is in good hands. Perhaps Marie-Angel or his sister Olivia have found where they took him. I just need to get on this damned bus.”
“I understand sir, but it’s hot right now and maybe that bus is waiting till the suns drops down past the other side, then it can come through the pass with no problem; it is an old bus.” She shook her head slowly when she said this to him, she was staring straight ahead now looking up the pass. Didn’t this man know anything?
She turned back to him one last time; in her mind it all made sense. “It happens mostly after the big rains, when it gets real hot, most times after lunch, but now it should come any time; won’t rain for a couple months I guess. You will get to the airport for the night flight; will that work for you? The night flight?”
“Yes, the night flight will be fine, as long as this damn bus ever shows up.”
“It’ll come like I told ya. Did ya happen to know they used to bet on it?”
“Bet one what?” He raised his head slightly.
“The time the bus was gonna come in.”
“Who would bet?”
“We all would, but the men on the platform ran the bets.” She nodded towards a few of the guys leaning against the wall who had their shirts up above their bellies to stay cool. He hadn’t seen them but she knew they would all try to hire on as a porter when the tourists came in, if there were any left. “Them boys and us would all wager on what time the bus was coming in, but now of course we all stopped.”
“What made you stop?” The man picked his nose, the dry air always made his nose itchy. He was sitting with his head raised.
“A lady they all say was a witch cursed the bus one day and it crashed coming down the pass and everyone on it died.”
“That is a horrendous tragedy, I am sorry for any losses you had.” He looked towards her now.
“Yes, so if you don’t mind I hope you can understand why I would not like to talk about what time the bus comes anymore.”
“Yes, yes; I am very sorry to bother you, I only worry about my son, they didn’t tell me much over the wire.”
“The bus will come sir, things are just slow here.” She looked away. What a waste of energy to talk to this man, and at a time like this? There was nothing to do but wait.
Day is done, gone the sun
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