Alighting the Bus…

Every morning on the first run of the day

Jim jumped on the bus in a sprightly way,

Announcing. “I’m alighting the Bus.” With a

Grin and a satisfied “Good Morning!” he settled

Into the seat by the window and started to tell

Stories about his life, his day, his plans, regrets and

How things were on this day. Fifty years driving a

Big rig delivering big equipment to construction

Sites all over the USA. When young he was quite a

Dancer and could swing to any beat. I asked him

Once what he thought of the Rap sounds we heard in

Vallejo coming from cars. He said with relish, “I

Love it it! ’cause you can dance any style to it, and

I surely would if I could,” He had bright blue eyes was

Over eightyyears old and wavy white hair that his wife

Permed for him very month, so he could look clean, he said

It was important to him. One day, a beautiful bright Spring day,

We were coming back from the last stop in Vallejo where

I picked him up ( WALMART 3:50 p.m.) and we were alone on the bus,

Not unusual for that time of day, he was looking out the window

In a dreamy way and said “It was a day just like this and we were marching over a bridge in Okinawa and when I looked over the side a valley full of dead dead people piled up and a lot of them had their eyes open and looking at the sky, and I knew from that day on, I could never kill anything again.”

In my big bus driver mirror I watched Jim cry on a beautiful

Spring afternoon in California. He rode the bus almost every

Day, and one day, and the next six, I didn’t see him and

Then I heard, the week before, he sat in his living room late

In the evening and shot himself in the head with a .357 while

His wife of almost 50 years was in the bedroom. Spring is not

A happy time for everyone. He was so alive, then made a choice

That the pictures in his wallet of the rigs he drove all his working

Life, and his wife, and the perms, and Okinawan eyes, and with the

Music stopping, were all, too much? Or not enough? He’ll never know.

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