There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer school

Outside the Winterstein Adult Center, where the San Juan Unified School District teaches immigrants how to become Americans, two Japanese women wait as the No. 82 bus comes to a stop.

The driver opens the door and greets the women.

The first Japanese woman, the older looking of the two with her dark hair gathered in a bun and held with an attractive light blue barrette, climbs the steps into the bus and at the top of the landing bows to the driver as she presents her boarding pass.

After the driver acknowledges her pass, she enters the bus trailing a small, wheeled suitcase.

The other Japanese woman, younger in appearance with her dark hair in a loose ponytail, bounds aboard the bus, flashing her pass without formality.

The pair take the first front-facing seat, the woman with the suitcase on the aisle and the other woman by the window. They ride silently. The woman by the window spends the entire trip watching suburban Sacramento as if she were riding in a glass bottom boat on the ocean.

At Sacramento State the two leave the bus. They walk together along a path, the one woman pulling the suitcase. In front of them walks a young man with a similar wheeled suitcase.

I wonder as the bus departs on its way to the 65th Street light rail station what they are studying.

Winterstein Adult Center appears closed for the summer.

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