Bus Stop

Ma and I stood at the bus stop, the rings of cigarette smoke circling her head like a cancerous halo. I watched them disappear when the wind of passing cars scattered and distorted their defined borders into nothingness.

“The smog from these fucking cars will kill ya.” She said, just as the bus crested the hill. “Get your token out and be ready. You know how these goddamn people are, always shovin’ ya out of the way.”

I pulled out the dime sized plastic token from my shirt pocket, along with a rock hard shard of a BBQ potato chip and two Rice Crispies from yesterday’s breakfast. Seeing these made me ponder Ma’s lack of laundering skills and my envy of children with clean clothes. I was so lost in thought that I didn’t see it coming until I heard the thud and scream.

“Take that you dirty bitch! That’ll teach ya to push me outta the way.”

Ma had just connected her foot to another woman’s shins for attempting to board the bus before her. The woman started screaming at Ma in Greek and Ma started screaming at her in ‘Ma Talk’ cursing a blue streak with abandon. The bus driver had stepped in between them, telling Ma that she’d better move along or he was going to call the cops. Embarrassed I tried to blend into the crowd by backing away silently. Ma caught the movement from the corner of her eye and wrenched me to her. Standing with me in some sort of twisted solidarity she announced that we didn’t need the goddamn bus and that the TTC could go fuck themselves.

We walked three miles home in a blistering July heat wave, Ma puffing away at her eternal cigarette. At one point she looked down at me. “Next time we go to the welfare office I’m saving up so we can take a goddamn cab.” She was silent after that and this scared me more than when she was talking because it was always followed by the grim and drearies when she slept all day and we had no food. We reached the intersection near the project and once more I watched the smoke curl around her head while waiting for the light to change, wishing for all I was worth that I could disappear like the smoke rings the cars banished in their windy wake.


Author: valo

I am a poet, writer and activist with a special interest in human rights for children and women as well as the elimination of poverty worldwide. If you read this today, feed someone locally for me will you? Drop off a non perishable food item at the food bank nearest you and consider yourself hugged. Thank you!

7 thoughts on “Bus Stop”

    1. Thank you Denise 🙂 I’m going to finish this book now, I can see by the reaction to this one story that it needs to be completed. hugs

    1. Do you think I should finish the book E? Tell the entire tale of my life with Ma? I think your trouble breathing, along with Andrew and Denise’s reaction has convinced me that this may be important to complete. Hugs and thank you E for being a rock solid chick with an artists heart.

  1. Wow, Val. I’m blown away by this. Incredible writing. You had me chuckling, wincing and cringing. You had me emotionally locked in and I didn’t want to leave.

    1. Thank you Andrew. You’ve just met my mother and nine year old Val. The book I’m writing contains many of these, lengthier and fatter with more detail. I’m condensing some of them to see the reaction. I attempted to write this book a couple of times but the result was either too satirical or tragically heavy handed. This time I just told it as it happened, clean and precise. I’m so happy that this affected you because if your reaction and nilufer’s reaction are any indication, I may have found the way to tell this story. You know that I admire your writing Andrew and I thank you for reading and leaving your reaction, it means a great deal to me.

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