The Bus

by Jay Frankston

I got on this bus when I was still in diapers.
I didn’t know anybody
only the woman who carried me on.
I grew into a boy on her lap
looking at the other passengers
and the scenery out the window.
The bus made several short stops
and I nearly fell off my seat.

When I got a little bigger
I got a seat of my own and held on
as the bus careened around corners
and several passengers fell to the floor.
There was no clear destination
but the bus made a number of stops
and some people got on and others got off.

When I got to be 25
I shared a seat with a lovely young lady
who sat on my lap when the bus got crowded.
And crowded it got.
What started out to be a peaceful ride
through the countryside
turned into a donnybrook
with passengers fighting over seats,
pushing people into the aisle
and sometimes off the bus.

The scenery changed
and the pastures turned to concrete,
the trees to skyscrapers
and the sun was hiding above the smog.

By the time I reached middle age
the space I was occupying was less than one seat
and I was pushed and shoved on all sides
by angry passengers who were jealous of their space.

The woman who brought me on
got off at a truck stop
and I struggled to keep my composure
in the crush of the crowd.

When I reached 60
the situation became unbearable.
The bus lurched
and took sharp turns at increasing speed
moving so fast
that what was outside the window of the bus
became a blur
and I got car sick.

The aisle was packed body-to-body
with wild-eyed people
who could not understand
what was happening to them.
The bus was barreling along
and everyone knew this could not continue
but no one bothered to look up front.

There was no one in the driver’s seat.

Jay Frankston was raised in Paris, France. Narrowly escaping the Holocaust, he came to the U.S. in 1942 and practiced law in New York for nearly twenty years. In 1972, he moved himself and his family to Northern California where he became a teacher and continued to sculpt and write. Jay is the author of several books and of a true tale entitled “A Christmas Story” published in New York Magazine, condensed in Reader’s Digest, translated into 15 languages, and called a Christmas classic by many reviewers.

Copyright 2018, Jay Frankston

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