The Polite Commuter

I had a seat near the front of the bus. A good one – facing forward – and there was still one open in the sideways bench seats. I fished out my phone and started checking messages. The bus stopped again and an elderly couple got on. The man gave his wife the open seat, but he didn’t look too sturdy so I relinquished mine, walked to the open area by the back door and stood there. Almost fell when the bus jerked forward so I grabbed a pole then pulled out my phone again. The back of the bus was crowded enough that I had to move each time the drive open the rear door, but I was able to set backpack on the floor between my feet so that helped. I guess it wasn’t a big deal. I just couldn’t focus on my messages and ended up stuffing my phone in my backpack. A few stops later, the stop at the strip mall where the grocery store is, a woman got on with one of those double strollers with a toddler at the bottom and an infant on top. Plus she had half a dozen plastic grocery bags. The driver said they blocked too much of the aisle so she had to stand by the rear door with me. It was a squeeze. The carriage wheel pushed my bag so that I couldn’t reach it, but the mother said she wasn’t going far. When her stop came, the drop to the sidewalk was so steep that she couldn’t get the stroller off. I grabbed the front of the stroller and another guy grabbed the handle and between the two of us we got it off safe and sound, both kids intact and happy. The other guy shifted to one side so the mother could get off. She paused long enough to retrieve my bag with her foot and pull it back near where I’d been standing. I held my hand to help her down. She nodded her thanks and started to push the stroller down the sidewalk. Just as I reached to haul myself back up into the bus the driver shut the door on my hand. I dropped back to the sidewalk cradling my bruised hand and watched as the bus drove away.

#flashfiction

 

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