Missing the Bus by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Grey clouds tangled in leafless tree limbs and telephone lines. Gertrude twisted the watch, puzzling at the liver patches circling her wrist. Almost noon — where was the bus? If she was late who would feed Norry her tomato soup and animal cracker lunch? Who would put her down for her afternoon nap?

The wind whipped leaves into an eddy of bronze and carried the raw smell of impending rain. Perhaps she should not have tarried for coffee after her shift — her co-workers were such awful gossips. But what wicked fun. And she deserved some fun, Gertrude thought. She worked hard to potatoes in the larder.

A bus rumbled past. The Number 9 to City Square. Panic wormed through her stomach and seeped to her chest. Where was the 55 to home? Raindrops splattered her flannel slippers. She looked down at the widening puddle. Where were her white shoes? She touched her wet head. Her nursing cap?

The sky cracked open. Gertrude hiccoughed a rending sob and sank knee-first to the muddy ground. She clasped her hands in prayer. Mother Mary, take care of Norry and bring me to her.

A siren wailed lonesome. She crunched her eyes and prayed harder. Behind her, feet pattered closer. Firm hands grasped her shoulders.
“Thank God we found you!”

Gertrude stopped her prayers. She wobbled up and let the kind-faced lady lead her down the street. Something about her eyes reminded her of Noreen.


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Filed under Linda Simoni-Wastila

12 responses to “Missing the Bus by Linda Simoni-Wastila

  1. Al McDermid

    Wow. So well done, and ‘Something about her eyes reminded her of Noreen.’ No fair, making a grown man nearly cry.

  2. Heartbreakingly real. You’ve excelled at peeking into the mind of the mentally disturbed.

  3. Len

    really well written. felt much fuller than 250 words. really heart-rendering.

  4. OMG, I really did not expect that! I thought perhaps she was dreaming when I found out about her slippers, but Whoa. Just wow. Incredible.

  5. This one made me tear up. You amaze me. It is astounding.

  6. ah, such an intense and heart-breaking story. so much truth in 250 words. thank you for sharing.

  7. Jane Banning

    Excellent, Linda. Vivid.

  8. guy

    I like the barrage of partial and frameless information we get from her point of view. Well done.

  9. Thanks all for reading and your kind words. I was going for the Alzheimer’s patient who had wandered off, but so hard to detail that in such short space. Peace…

  10. Oh this so reminds me of old jobs I have had … sad. But it’s also real. Thank God you didn’t give her a urinary tract infection too!

  11. Pingback: Week #31 – Missed the bus | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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