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

Friday, December 14, 2007

A guy and his doll

The towheaded preschool girl arrived first, lifted into the bus by her father in a familiar demonstration of the parental weightlifting version of the two-arm cling and lift.

The little girl was dressed in pink shoes and pink pants and a pink and purple coat. Her shoulder-length wispy blonde hair was kept from falling in her face with a barrette. On her hands were pink knit gloves with purple flowers. She stared in amazement as only a child can. You could imagine that this was the first time she had been inside the big bus. Wow.

Her father showed his Sacramento State student ID with the bus sticker to the driver and then did the familiar parental herding maneuver that part pushes and part guides kittens in the general direction desired. Eventually the little girl was left standing in front of the first front-facing seat in the bus as her father took off his backpack. The acceleration of the bus departing the stop sat her down on the seat, and she scooted next to the wall to make room for her father.

The father looked as unsure about the bus trip as his daughter looked amazed. Twenty-something, short hair, glasses and wearing a black trench coat -- I've never seen him on this bus run, certainly not with the kid in tow. And, frankly, you don't see very many unaccompanied fathers with their children on the bus. An observer from another planet, might assume bus travel required a minimum of one mother, with the father an optional accessory.

The father rummaged in his backpack for some school papers and then read through them. The little girl sat quietly and watched the pageant as the bus stopped and started and people arrived and departed.

From my perch in the back of the bus I saw the girl ask her father something. This brought a smile to his face, and he replied. The last I saw of the pair, the father was putting on his backpack as he walked into Sac State with the little girl trailing behind.

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