I See Stories


Two boys on the bus from Cannes
September 23, 2006, 9:48 am
Filed under: looking out

two boys on the bus They looked sort of cute dressed in their matching shirts, though I always thought it was kind of strange to dress siblings in the same outfits. They sat across the aisle from me on the bus going from Cannes to Antibes. Looking completely worn out, I wondered if they had been to the beach and were heading home for nap. Their parents sat directly across from them with tote bags of towels, extra clothing, and water bottles.

We had only been on the road about 10 minutes when the little boy that had had his back turned to me, sat up. He looked like he was going to cry, but I recognized the haste of his mother’s attempt to get a sac plastique out of her tote…that boy was going to puke. I was greatly relieved that she was quick and I looked out the window to avoid the gag reflex that I often experience when seeing a heaving child.

Wondering how much longer the drive to Antibes would take, I kept peeking back at that family of four. At my next glance the sick boy was nibbling a cake from a cellophane wrapper. I noted that his mom had come prepared. I wondered what other resources she carried in her bag in preparation for possible disruptions of the day.

She evidently knew her boys well; thankfully. When the second boy eyed the first with the cake, I thought he looked green with jealously. I imagined him wondering why his brother got to eat cake when he had just been ill. A reward? No sooner had the thought passed across my brain’s neurons than I realized it wasn’t jealously that made that child green, he was a puker too. Properly interpreting the cues, wise Mom had extracted another sac plastique and the second boy was retching loudly.

Suddenly the bus was filled with the smell of vomit. Overwhelmed, I had to move. The entire front of the bus got up and shifted to the back. Heaven help us, I thought, if there is a wave of hysterical emesis…even that mom couldn’t have enough sacsfor an epidemic. Why, I wondered, did the driver not pull the bus over and offer to help? But what she would have done? Could the driver put them off? How much further did they have to go?

I never answered the questions. The bus reached my stop and I leapt out of the door leaving mom to nurse her puny boys.

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