The Bus Ride By Britannic x.o. Zane (Jul. 8th, 2007)

I sat down to wait for my bus and a Samoan woman approached me. She kept staring at me and I was getting nervous about it because she was intimidating like she could squash me like a grape. She waited till everyone around us seemed occupied with other things before she spoke to me.

“You know, in my village you would be considered a holy man because of your facial tattoos. The fact that you got facial tatts that reflect something about you makes you a wise man in my eyes.”

I smiled and thanked her for the compliment and we started talking about her tribal tattoos. The bus came and we both got on continuing the conversation. We sat down next to a black woman who looked upset about something. The black woman’s 16 year old son was yelling and goofin with his friends in the back of the bus. He came up front and started going off yelling at his mother and calling her a bitch because she would not give him five dollars. The Samoan woman got up and told him to back off.  He gave his mother a dirty look and called her a bitch again. He then went back to his friends. The mother looked frightened and embarrassed.

The Samoan woman asked “Who is he to be talking trash to you like that?”
“That is my 16 year old son”
“Why are you afraid of something that came out of you?”
“He has a gun.”
“Really… How could you let him have a gun?”
The woman did not answer but seemed slightly more uncomfortable.

The Samoan woman got up and went to the back of the bus to address the teen.

“Hey, that is not your bitch! That is not a female dog! That is your mother!
You do not treat your mother like that ever! That woman is your queen!”
“ Back off lady it’s none of your business”
The boy made the mistake of getting in the Samoan’s face.

“This is my business now! You think you’re tough! You got a gun?”
“Yeah I got a gun!”
“Then use it fucker! Go ahead and you shoot me” The boy was stunned. “I will take that gun away from you and pistol whip you before you even get a chance to pull the trigger!. You think you are tough? I did my time. I ran with my gang! You need to straighten the fuck out and start respecting people cause you are gonna wind up doing time yourself if you are not dead first. I got nothing more to say to a wimp like you. You can’t face me; you sure as hell should not be having a gun. You will be dead or in prison.  I should not even waste my breath on you.”

The boy got off at the next stop looking scared. The mother looked relieved and thanked the woman as she came back to sit with us. I could see that although there was a slight relief the woman was thinking to what will happen later on and was trying to hide the fact that she was afraid. The mother got off the bus a few stops later.

The woman turned back to me and started telling me about her life story which is tattooed on her back. The woman has had a very rough past and is about to be reunited with her children. She told me about how she went to prison. She explained how she was helpless to the horrors that were done to her within the prison walls. The rape she could not  do anything about. She told me things that she confessed that she has never spoke out loud before because no one would ever believe her. The conversation started getting more and more emotional.

It was beautiful seeing this person go from this tough rock to a fragile being. I thought about it for an instant thinking about how we are all only human and we all live behind our defenses. I
was honored she chose me to show this vulnerable side to.

"I have no idea why I am telling this to you now other than I must need to get these things off my chest"

Feeling protective of her I asked if I could buy her coffee or something so we could finish the conversation without the people on the bus listening in. We got off and we just sat on a bench as I continued to listen to her.

She spoke of her children with great pride. “I made a lot of mistakes and thank god my children are not like me. They are good kids. They are respectful and nothing like their jail bird momma use to be. I did my time and learned my lesson and I will never go back there. I will never have to leave my kids again.”

She told me that she did not want to bring her awful past and negativity with her into her new life with her children. The kids are young and should not have to know how bad things were until they are much older. She sacrificed being with her kids before going into prison, so they could have a better life. She gave her children to her brother’s care. She shamed her family by going to prison and her brother told her kids she was dead. She recently spoke to her kids and they are nervous about meeting her as well. The oldest daughter did not understand why her mother left. The woman knows that this will be a hard thing to mend. I listened to her life story giving her reassurance that her faith and love for her kids made her a much stronger person than anyone has ever given her credit for. I gave her advice on how to handle the reunion and how to address certain probing questions her children would have. She started crying and let it all out on my shoulder. We finished the conversation with a prayer and her feeling she could get on her bus and continue her way back to her children.

I know that I will never see this woman again.

Copyright © Britannic X.O. Zane

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