Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rite of Passage

My mother thought we were ready. In her eyes my younger sister and I were dependable and capable.  My aunt Velma's kids could do it.  Now we have to prove ourselves worthy. We have to ride the bus on our own. 
We were given instructions.  "The bus driver shouts out every street when he stops.  When he shouts out 16th street get off…"  "If you're not sure what street you're on, just ask the bus driver."   

My sister and I were put on the bus. We looked like we were dressed for Easter.  Our task seemed simple enough. I don't know what my sister was doing, but I spent the whole time looking out the window. It was a long ride and the bus driver never shouted anything. 

We came to the end of the line. Everyone got off of the bus.  There we were, somewhere else on the planet. We picked a direction and started walking and walking.  My sister observed,  "Oh no, we're lost. We're going to get in trouble."         I tried to reassure her with my confidence she knew I didn't have.  "Let's just keep walking, we'll get home."

After twenty three blocks of walking,   my sister couldn't take it any longer.  She stopped walking and started crying. Pat's not a subtle cryer, she doesn't whimper, she goes for it.   Good thing, If she hadn't started crying, we would have ended up in Nebraska.  Her howling caught the attention of a police officer.   "We're lost."   

Now we're sitting in the police car like two little bank robbers. The both of us were crying now.  He drove us home.  A police car in the neighborhood gets a lot of attention, not to mention one with two crying kids in it.  Mom took pity on us.  Our cousins did not.

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