We decided to skip the subway today and ride the 7 to Center City. It was after 6 & the bus crowded quickly.
An odd assortment of commuters an even more eclectic hodge podge of smells.
While chatting with my friend I noticed slumped in the seat next to him, a tiny brown head full of braids. It was a little girl asleep on the bus. Her tiny mouth slacked open, head resting on Septa window. Unaware of a world in progress.
After several stops my friend & I began to wonder if she was alone, then I began to worry that she may have slept through her stop. We asked the passengers around “is she with you?”
No one claimed her. Ernest and I switched seats so I could gently shake her awake. “Hey baby, are you alone? Do you know what stop you’re looking for? Do you know where you are?” This pretty baby’s eyes took a moment to focus and she looked at me and said “I’m okay, my mama’s over there.”
She pointed through the pack of bodies, to a petite woman standing at the front of the bus. Her back was toward us. She was leaning suggestively into the bus driver.
At first I felt relieved. Then five stops later I noticed this “mother” never once looked back to check on this beautiful sleeping child. Not once. We rode the bus from Front & Oregon to 23rd & Market and not once did she look back.
I don’t know how dynamic her conversation was with that bus driver; but her back was saying so much to me. It told a tale of a woman who had no consideration for the gift of life she was granted. It said “I have a selfish story and I want to share it with you”
Her body language was promising for the driver but her back broken english was damaging to her child.
I said a silent prayer that she would redeem herself with one swift backward glance but when we got off the bus she was still engrossed in her conversation with the driver.
Her daughters sleeping body slumped next to the seat I vacated; vulnerable frame exposed to the next passenger who sits down.