The ride home was long. The bus chugged along at a slow pace for no other reason than to keep itself on schedule. Jean stared out the window, though all she could really see was her own reflection.
When Jean was a little girl, she and her mother would take a monthly trip downtown by electric car. The sound it made kept her in a trance and she had this feeling of riding on a magic bus that was being pulled along by a wire. She used to wonder what would happen if the wire snapped. But feeling her life hanging by a metal thread only added to the excitement of their journey.
It was only the two of them, then. She didn’t know where her father was; she couldn’t say for certain that she had one. Her mother refused to speak to her about him, and Jean learned early on that asking was futile.
She wondered now, under the trance of the bus’s hum, if Adam had ever felt that sort of abandonment. She had done her best to give him everything. Everything unfortunately hadn’t included a father for Adam. Was it genetic, she wondered, looking at the bits of blackness she caught through the glass’s glare, something she had inadvertently passed on from her mother?
Jean worried about her son, feeling at a loss lately about how to reach out to him. She just wanted him to be happy. But he wasn’t her little boy anymore who she could protect by wrapping her arms around his little boy body and swing him round and round until his tears became giggles.
Main at Portage, the bus driver announced. She prepared to disembark at the next stop. She would leave behind her the Saturday morning trips with her mother and the young boy who used to be Adam. And when she climbed her connecting bus and handed over the transfer tag, she would think of Marjory and her son, Peter. She would think of the silence that followed the weeping she had witnessed with a sense of confusion and uneasiness. Jean had never before seen Marjory cry.