The bus pulled up for Rose at the corner of Columbus and 75th. The driver extended the ramp and she haltingly pushed forward to get over the edge of the ramp and grab a handrail inside the bus. It was slow going. She felt her chair nudge forward and turned her head around to see a man giving her a helpful push.
“Get your hands of my chair young man.” She said. “No one asked for your help.”
“Sorry,” he said and backed away from the chair.
“You have no right to just push someone like that.”
She resumed jerking her way forward finally managing to round the bend past the driver, turn the chair face forward and parallel park herself into the space vacated by the seats that had been turned up for her. The driver strapped her wheel in. She adjusted her hat and sighed.
With her hands in her lap, she waved an arthritic finger at the helpful man as he walked by. When he’d passed her, she smiled, adjusted her summer hat, a straw thing with a wide brim that hid her thin hair and the bald spot that had made camp atop her head several years ago and would not leave.
The bus moved forward and she noticed the woman sitting across the aisle, also in a wheel chair, also with a hat, although hers was white.
“I hate when people do that,” the woman said.
“It doesn’t like you’d need a boost with that thing,” Rose said with a nod toward the woman’s chair.
It was a beautiful chair, with smaller wheels than Rose’s, pneumatic tires, a thick, padded seat with a head rest and joystick controls – a lovely, motorized chair. “I know you. Aren’t you…,” Rose started to say, then looked the other way out the window.
Here we have these notes jotted down in a notebook six and one half years ago. I typed the notes into a word doc on June 1, 2007 presumably to flesh out a story. I remember the incident – the old woman with the funky hat rolling on the bus and the young man who pushed her (me, not so young) and the reproachful look she gave me. The notes end there and though I can recall the moment I don’t remember if the other woman an old friend, someone who stole a lover, or someone famous she recognized.
No matter. They sit in their wheelchairs on a bus on Columbus Avenue heading downtown in 2007 at the beginning of a conversation in an unfinished barely begins story waiting for the words that form their thoughts and construct their sentences and drive their actions.