How it Begins…

From “The Well”

I need chairs, first of all, but she’d probably want something more comfortable, like a couch, I don’t really know. But at least some chairs, which I can get from the junk pile. It would be good to know approximately when she will get here, so I can be ready, but there’s only so much one can control. So I just need to do what makes sense and get over there to the bus stop. But I’m also thinking if I hear the bus coming, I could probably dash over there in time to meet it.

So I select and bring over a nice old wooden chair from the junk pile, with dark, almost black stain, and I’m enjoying the journey, because it gives me something constructive to do, while waiting, and it’s heavy but not too heavy. It’s not going to be the most comfortable chair in the world, but it won’t be so bad, since it’s got a nice deep sculpt in the seat. I go back for another one, this time one that’s blonde, with rich, expressive grain, and position it, just so, next to the other one. Satisfied, I meander over to the bus stop, keeping an ear out for the sound of an approaching bus. I sit down and wait uncertainly, not knowing exactly where the bus will come from, since there are no roads, or even tire tracks.

Now I see a definitive dot on the horizon, a little dot that steadily grows, gaining definition until it becomes an actual, unmistakable bus that I know contains my sister. The bus draws up alongside my bench and there’s Kate’s smiling face in the window at the very front, waving frantically. Her smile is so all-consuming that her eyes are slits. The feeling is mutual.  

The bus lets out a sigh, kneels beeping, and then through the window I see Kate rise and hold onto a pole with both hands, as if for dear life. She’s wearing the most spectacular raincoat I think I’ve ever seen, one that reflects the light in complex kaleidoscopic patterns that change with her every movement. I’ve never seen her wear anything close to this, as she’s always had rather conservative taste in clothes.

She carefully steps down the stairs, looking down toward her feet while holding on to the bannisters on either side of her, letting her purse dangle freely from her neck as the bus driver follows close behind with a large black rolly-bag. When she finally has both feet planted on the ground, and the driver places the bag beside her, she warmly thanks him while reaching into her purse but the driver refuses any sort of tip with both hands before bounding back up the stairs of the bus and taking off.

Kate calls out, “Get over here, you!” and I walk into her hug as tears quietly stream down out of my eyes. 

I gently break away, to be able to look at her, telling myself that the sorrow and sadness is for the lost time, and that there is a moment, right here in front of me, to attend to, but to really look at her I have to almost block out the mesmerizing, almost perplexing raincoat, and I feel like doing that with my hand, but I refrain.

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