Page One

Emily and the No. 88 Bus

By Linda Seccaspina
Wednesday December 30, 2009 - 09:12:00 AM

When Emily was depressed she rode the 88 bus. She rode to the east, she rode it to the west. She rode it way too much. But, that was the cure. The cure that cured all. No one should feel sorry for themselves this much. No one indeed. 

One gloomy day she got on the bus and there sitting across her was a physically challenged woman. She was about 36 and partially blind but carried no white cane. She also had a club foot. She went out of her way to be pleasant to everyone. She was even pleasant to Emily, VERY pleasant indeed. She didn’t feel sorry for herself at all. No, not at all. Not like Emily 

She looked at Emily and said, “Hello sad girl, you are a sad looking girl indeed, but smile for me.” she said. “My name is Mini.” 

Mini plopped herself down on the seat next to Emily and started talking to no one in particular. She asked the bus driver her name. The bus driver announced to everyone that her name was Priscilla. So having a first name, Mini began talking in a loud booming southern voice. 

“Miss Priscilla, I don’t have a care keeper anymore.” 

“I noticed that Mini, where is she?” asked Priscilla 

“Miss Priscilla, my mother has made me have home care off and on since 1995, and you wouldn’t believe half of what I would tell you. You would say, ‘NAAA HAAAAAAAAA.’ My Mama and Mr. Jimmy says I’m too nice to people. But Mr. Jimmy has hired these home care workers and I think they are in cahoots. I’m a nice person but I won’t be taken advantage of. NO siree, not anymore.” 

Emily looked at her with sad eyes and nodded her head. 

“God is the only judgment in my life. What goes up must come down like a helium balloon and if Mr. Jimmy keeps up he is going to go down like a helium balloon.” 

Yes, Emily nodded in agreement, like a helium balloon. 

“I never heard my doctor tell my Mama that I was legally blind. I can still move around and if I don’t step in mud one day, then it’s a good day.” 

“Well, your Mama just cares about you darlin” said Priscilla, the bus driver. 

Yes, Emily nodded, her mama cared for her just like the bus driver. Emily cared too. 

Mini started getting a little heated and blurted out, 

“I don’t despair my Mama, but she has faith the size of a mustard seed. If I can cross that street to go to the corner store and not get hit by a car nor mugged by those young thugs then it’s another good day. If I can’t do something then I am going to give it one hell of a try. When you stop this bus if I fall down and bump my head, I’m just going to rub it and keep on going.” 

Yes, Emily nodded, just keep on going. That is what she should do. Just keep on going. Forget all the bumps; forget all those imaginary bumps in her head. 

At this point, Mini noticed that people were listening to her every word. She started to get nervous and twirl her BAD BOY BAIL BONDS key lanyard around her neck. 

“Miss Priscilla, where were you born?” asked Mini. 

“I was born in Alabama, darlin,” said Priscilla. 

“Well, I was born in San Francisco,” said Mini, and she started screaming loudly.  

“You see I am crazy, because I was born there,” she laughed. “Everyone thinks people from San Francisco are crazy so I moved across the Bay to Berkeley to find God.” 

Emily scratched her head. She didn’t know that God had moved to Berkeley or she would have done the ‘drop in’ with some freshly baked cookies. She silently wondered where in Berkeley was God living? 

Emily thought those hippies had it all right when they revolted against Governor Reagan over People’s Park in the ‘60s. Was God living in People’s Park? Was he really? Was he at the Amoeba record store every week, thought Emily to herself. Or was he begging for change on the street with three dogs on a leash. Had she missed him somewhere? 

Surely he didn’t have a vendors table on Telegraph Avenue selling tie dye clothing. Do other people know he lives here? Emily wondered if he marched along side with her during one of those anti-war rallies. She secretly knew what Mini meant, but it was interesting to wonder what God would do or live in Berkeley. After all, it is a haven of peace. Yes a big bubble, a haven of peace. 

Mini was still babbling on, telling the bus driver how she used to go the YMCA in the summer when she was young and how she loved the trampoline. She couldn’t jump because of her foot but she could sit there while the others jumped and she pretended she was flying. 

“I just sat there and closed my eyes and I was flying Miss Priscilla. I was flyinggggggggggggggg in the blue sky.” 

Emily thought to herself and imagined Mini flying in the air as she closed her eyes. Suddenly Emily was flying too. She was flying with Mini into the clouds. There was only sunshine, no gloom, only smiles and no frowns. 

Yes she was flying with Mini, flying hard and flying strong. She was no longer gloomy, nor did she feel sorry for herself. After that very day, when Mini flew into her heart, she worried no more. Feeling sorry for herself was no option. No option indeed. 

For months after that day she looked for Mini on the bus. She looked far and she looked wide. But she no longer saw her and Emily wondered aloud, “Maybe that WAS God. Was God really on that 88 bus that day?” Maybe He was, thought Emily and she smiled broadly. In fact she knew He was and she smiled once again.  

God really did live in Berkeley. Oh yes, oh yes, He did. Because God was everywhere and he did have some rules. He told everyone not to be sad and to love everyone. He said it quite proudly, quite proudly indeed and not on one piece of his body was he wearing tie dye. Now that made Emily smile. Yes, smile more indeed. Even God had fashion rules. Godly Fashion rules indeed.