The Number 9 Bus

I have reached the age where I am often surrounded in memory with grandparents, parents, younger sisters and aunts, uncles and cousins without number. I even attempt on occasion to return to that time by taking the number 9 bus.

The bus rocked gently on the uneven blacktop, stopping every few blocks to let off or take on passengers. But that was all right. I didn’t mind the delays. I was going home, on the number 9 bus I took every night for all those years. I got off and walked the two blocks to my house. I stepped through the door into the living room and was instantly aware of a deep and intense silence, the only sound a fly somewhere at a window trying desperately to get out. I stood in the middle of the room, looking at but not seeing the furniture or the closed drapes. The kitchen chairs were perfectly arranged around the table, but I knew somehow that no one had sat at that table in a very long time. Filled with a foreboding sense of dread, I climbed the stair to the second floor, but that was empty as well, though all the beds were made and the bathroom had clean towels on the racks. There was no one home, and I knew, with utter finality, that everyone had gone, and I was the last. I closed the front door behind me and walked to the bus stop to wait for the number 9 bus, but I knew, again with utter finality, that the bus would never come. Yet as I stood on the corner, filled with deep despair, I knew that someone would be home the next time.

I awoke to streaming sunlight
Moving figures everywhere
Parents, sisters, aunts and uncles
And more coming  up the stair
Treasured voices rose in laughter
As I lay there all unseen
Watching loved and long gone faces
Moving in the misty scene
Slowly fading from my vision
As more sunlight filled the room
Deeply sad I felt them leaving
But I shook the dark-filled gloom
As I quickly dressed and hurried
In a laughing, joyful haze
Down the stairs to catch the 9 bus
Back to younger, happy days