I watched a man get on the bus yesterday and give a nonchalant, “Hey mom” to one of the other passengers.
She didn’t respond.
I assumed I’d misheard.
He turned to me and said hey something, so I said hey back.
You’re going to be my sister, now. He told me.
Okay. I said.
Hi, sister! He said.
Hey! I said.
Then he started quizzing me.
Who am I? He asked.
You’re my brother, I told him.
(This answer took a little while because questions like who am I? and who are you? Always throw me off. Who am I? I don’t expect to answer that with a name or a title.)
Who is she? He asked, gesturing to the woman he’d first woman greeted.
She’s your mother, I said.
Sigh. She’s your mother, too, you know.
Okay, I said.
Who is she to you?
She’s my mother, I said.
Yes! We’re one big family, he said.
Our mother was not amused.
She remained silent, but if she had chosen to speak at this time, I imagine she would have said something like, Why is there talking now?
Who is the bus driver? The man asked me.
I wasn’t sure, but a quick look to the front of the bus told me the driver was an African American man about my age.
He’s my brother, I said.
Right! The man said. We’re one big family.
Yeah, I’d gotten that.
And there’s our family dog! The man added, pointing out the window to a Golden Retriever.
Oh good, I said. I’m glad our family has a dog.
And then it was time for me to get off the bus.
I wished the man a good day and he wished me a good day.
I said thank you to bus driver.
The driver smiled and nodded – Have a good day, sister! He said.
Yeah, you too, brother!