Bay Area Stew
Number 27 to Taco Nirvana
Board the 27 at Bush and Jones.
Hey there, your Tuesday taco run?
setting every lonely female heart aflutter.
Very lucky. Always fun when he drives.
New hybrid bus. Smells clean.
Not for long, Michael laughs.
Sweet Lady Georgia waits at Post and Jones.
Fragrant with lavender, snowy hair neatly pinned.
She must be ninety-five, at least.
Delicately fragile, needs help getting on.
Mohawked young man offers his arm.
She waves me over.
Georgia loves my silver bracelets.
Her arthritic fingers stroke my favorite--
Connemara marble stones in Celtic links.
Her husband died five years ago.
Michael recalls their weekly trips for day-old bread.
Partners for seventy years. Enviable rare devotion.
He worries if Georgia misses a Tuesday ride.
Market Street. A cacophonic, pedestrian transit morass.
Twelve kindergartners, holding hands, wait to board.
Teacher and aides, count and recount.
Cannot lose anyone on this field trip.
Michael solemnly hands each one a transfer. Just for fun.
“Don’t lose it!” Twelve excited nods.
St Luke’s Hospital stop. I groan, intolerant of delays.
“Move back folks, wheelchair coming on board.”
His peaceable, tranquil tone, reminiscent of kinder times.
A gentle rebuke for my impatience.
Caesar Chavez and Mission. End of the line.
“Folks, this is the last stop. You all have a good day.”
Grins at me. My rest stop for thirty minutes.
If you’re back, I’ll see you soon.
Sprint to the Taqueria. Words spill, jumbling out,
Police officers behind me laugh; she must be hungry.
Race back to the bus. Soleus muscles tingling.
He is resting in the rear.
Bang on the window, startling him.
Laughing, he lets me in. Heard you like Spicy Chicken burritos?
“That was delicious, Elsa. I would give you a big kiss,
but you’re married.”
“Likewise, Michael,” pointing to his wedding ring.
Tiny tingle of regret lurking around inside me.
Satiated ride home to Bush Street,
Taco Tuesday next week?
Of course, I tell him.
See my husband walking the dog. Run to hug them.
Turn back and wave at the bus.
Michael smiling broadly, flashing a big thumbs up sign.
About Elsa Fernandez
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