soda to wash it down. Ah, but he had brought along a banana; he’d get a drink at the next bus stop. Gary started to read his Kindle. It was a new Dan Brown novel, an author he loved; but he was unable to read. He felt distracted. The trauma of the car incident had shaken him more than he had realized. To distract himself, he began to look around the bus at the other passengers. As he gazed across the aisle, his eyes fixed on a rather attractive African-American woman in her early thirties and her two children in the row diagonally across from him. He watched her as she played with her pink and sparkle-covered smart phone while mindlessly eating Doritos from the bag on her lap. He wondered what she was doing here. She had gotten on the bus in Scranton. Was she going home from visiting relatives? Or, was she local and taking a round trip to the Big Apple to let her kids see where she lived when she was their age and then staying with old friends? She was neatly dressed in tight dark blue jeans and a frilly pink jacket over a plain blue shirt. Her daughter who sat in the window seat to her mother’s right, was deeply engrossed in a game she was playing on her own phone. Her son who looked about eight sat across the aisle from them, right in front of Gary, in a seat all to himself. He was wearing shorts; his knees were cradled to his chest and he covered them with his olive green tee shirt and wrapped his arms around them to keep warm in the air conditioned bus. Doreen saw her little boy trying to keep warm in his shorts and flimsy tee shirt. She recalled having told him to wear something warmer but had decided that battle wasn’t worth fighting. She went back to playing with her phone when her mind began to drift. She was thinking about how nice it had been to visit her sister Laura and even nicer to be going home to Carlo who would be waiting there, BBQ all set up with hamburgers and hot dogs ready to grill. Doreen wished her husband could have joined them, but he had been on duty Friday and Saturday. She thought about how safe and secure she felt with him and what a good father he was. How he would probably play catch with Jackson in the backyard before dinner was ready. She did worry sometimes about how he kept quiet about his experiences in Afghanistan. He was one of the first to be deployed. She knew little about his experience there. He would sometimes say how lucky he was. How being in the right place at the right time, or not being in the wrong place at the wrong time, made all the difference between those who came back and those who didn’t. Sometimes he would say, “I guess the Lord wasn’t ready for me yet.” Still she worried. After his tour of duty, he became a New York City cop. Seconds later, the passengers in the first few rows saw a tire come flying off a truck in front of them; the bus swerved, and the driver brought it to a sudden halt. The rogue tire rolled into the median on their left and although shaken, no one was hurt. After a few minutes, the driver slowly inched his way toward the nearby exit at Mt. Pocono which was the next scheduled stop. While all the passengers waited on the bus at the
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