Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The bus trip from Vienna to Trogir, Croatia takes twelve hours and rolls overnight. As the monster idles–half the passengers taking final drags on cigarettes and patting at their relatives–a mother helps her teenaged son to his seat. The mother gazes around the bus that would carry her boy away. He walks her back out, embraces and kisses her, then boards calmly and settles in.
She waits on the platform, requiring confirmation that the trip was underway before she would go home. Her son makes kind gestures to his worried mother outside. The bus is so tall, the windows so high, that she looks up at her son like a cat trapped in a tree. The departure is three minutes behind schedule already (a sign it is not an Austrian bus line) and in those three minutes, she switches between studying her watch and convincing herself not to board again for one more hug, for one last word of advice. She shivers into her coat.
Her son stands so she can see him more clearly and makes motions that she should leave, that she should go, that she must be cold. She waves them off with her hand, then her head. Even as the bus pulls away, they keep their eyes on each other, even as he cranes around completely in his seat and she rushes to another platform to catch the last view of his shadow against the window.
The bus circles the station and drives the perimeter of the parking lot before arriving at the proper exit, and his mother still waits to wave once more as the bus passes her in the street.
They are the only two people on the bus, in the station, in that ridiculously beautiful few minutes. Perhaps this is one reason people have children. Someone to miss, someone to worry over, someone to wave back.