“Look Mommy, that man has a cake!” Jessie said excitedly.
“Yes honey, he does.” I said, and patted her blonde hair. “Maybe he’s going to a fancy party.”
The lanky man who’d stepped onto the bus at the last stop did indeed – he carried a white cardboard box, the kind from a bakery. He sat down across from us, setting the box onto the empty seat next to him.
The wheels on the bus went round and round and the engine roared and our little metal ship slowly made its way further from downtown, one stop at a time. Passengers came on and off.
No one sat next to the tall bearded man in the trenchcoat across from us, or his cake.
“Mommy, look a robin!” Jessie was kneeling on her seat backward, peering out the window at the bright sunwashed streets and trees as they sped by.
“Yes honey, spring is in the air.”
The bus stopped at the corner of Elm Street with the sound of escaping compressed air. The doors closest to us shuffled open and the tall man rose from his seat and strode off into the sunlight like a wraith.
“Look Mommy, the tall man forgot his cake!” Jessie squealed, turning around. The white box sat alone across from us.
“SIR!” I yelled, getting up from my seat, but he ignored me and continued down the sidewalk.
The doors swung closed. Again there was the sound of compressed air, and then of the bus engine revving.
The noise subsided, and it was then I heard a sound coming from the box – the sound of ticking.