It was like any other weekday afternoon. I left work and caught my bus. I scanned my farecard and moved to find an available seat. A person with something large on the floor occupied the first seat on the right. Two empty places appeared next. Instinct told me to leave the seat between us open.
I settled in for the twenty-minute ride. People boarded and exited. Traffic flowed. To my left, my blind side, I heard the parceled passenger shift. I couldn’t snag a good look without staring, so I would glance over my nose with my better eye as we rolled along. The bulky item looked to be a tied up sleeping bag. Then I figured no, it was an object wrapped in a blanket? It rested halfway in the aisle, other riders stepped around it. I noticed two thin arms jutting out from the beige bulge. The passenger murmured at the brown shape intermittently. I grimaced. Could be a service dog. What kind of a visually impaired person do I think I am.
Then the person picked up the “dog.” Out went that theory. The one-way conversation continued and the bundle was patted, reassured. Interesting. Or crazy.
I inhaled and strategized. I heard the stop request announcement. A lady gathered her shopping bags and walked up the aisle. As she passed me, I turned my head and absorbed the best view of the mystery item. It rested inches from my head. Decision validated about the middle seat. Still not believing my sight, I glanced down to study the enigma’s arms. I resisted the urge to palpate it.
The unusual rider pulled the yellow stop request cord. The bus arrived at the corner and the driver opened the front doors. The rider exited without a word, carrying the beige, stuffed rocking horse.
And, they’re off.