Sunday, May 31, 2015

From Newark to Boston

[A few weeks ago.]

We were sitting in Newark’s Penn Station, waiting for the Bolt bus that would take our son Ben back to Boston. It was quite a scene. An elderly black woman had just cussed out an interracial couple for being an interracial couple. The couple gave back as good as they got, drove the woman off, and began laughing about the encounter. And then I noticed a young white guy pacing. He wore track pants and a sleeveless T-shirt, and he kept doffing and donning his baseball cap, which he wore backwards. He had a muscular upper body and a shaved head and looked tightly wound, as if waiting for a bell to ring and a boxing match to begin. He had been standing outside near the Bolt bus that had been idling when we arrived, which of course had not been the bus to Boston. Now, inside the waiting area, he walked our way: “Are you waiting for the bus to Boston? Because I think that’s it.” He had spotted another Bolt pulling up outside. He too was going to Boston. We headed out, but it was the wrong bus, again.

Now he and I stood by the curb watching for further activity, and we spotted a third bus, waiting to turn the corner and head our way. He saw it first. Greyhound? We saw greyish-blue. But then as the bus began to move toward the intersection: orange. A Bolt bus. “They should hire you to keep everyone on top of things here,” I said. “No thanks — I spent enough time around here homeless,” he replied, entirely matter-of-factly. He explained that he had moved up to Boston, that it had been a good decision, and that he had come back to New Jersey to visit family. ”I hope there are better days ahead for you,” I said. “Thanks,” he said, and nodded.

This third Bolt was the bus to Boston. We said goodbye to Ben, watched as he queued up, and walked back to our car.

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