Kimara was sitting on the bus, watching a taller human with two small humans interact. The small humans were tired, it seemed to Kimara, and pulling and tugging on the taller ones clothes. The taller one had bags of groceries around their feet and eyes that looked like they’d seen too many casserole dinners. The tall human had nearly ceased to acknowledge the smaller ones, eyes directed at the ceiling of the bus. The small humans escalated their pleas for attention. The taller human’s body began to tighten like an elastic about to snap. Kimara had seen that physicality in her own mother every time just before she would break into screaming at her, and then end up on the couch in tears. The whole bus seemed to tense around the epicenter of this moment. The passengers looking away nervously. Before the taller human could break, Kimara had started to clap her hands. In sort of an accentuated beat. tap taptap tap taptap tap taptap tatatatatatata tap taptap tap taptap tap taptap… and so she kept it going. Soon the smaller humans diverted their attention to her and she began to sing “The Wheels on the Bus,” and by the second verse the small humans joined in, and the taller human looked at Kimara, the whole body relaxed, and nodded. Kimara nodded ever so slightly back, and held back her tears and kept singing until the taller human pulled the string for the next stop. Kimara high-fived each small human on their way out, as the taller one grabbed the groceries and gently said to the small ones, “wait for me outside, I’ll be there in a second.” The taller one just looked straight into Kimara, smiled, and said “thank you.” Then it was over and the bus went back to its regular bustle, and people went back to ignoring the world around them.
By Rob Swigart