Black Felt Hat


The little Asian lady in the black felt hat is a regular. She gets on the bus at the same station as me, transfers the same buses, and gets off at the same stop at the far end. She’s almost never late, so I know that if I see her there is a good chance that I’ll get to work on time. 

This morning we boarded the same bus like usual. We both descended at the transfer stop- she stood up out of her seat in front of me and exited the bus in front of me. We crossed the street at the crosswalk at the same time. 

But when the transfer bus came, she was nowhere to be seen. I looked up the sidewalk, searched the immediate area for someplace she might’ve hidden away, but the bus stop was in an open place and there was no obvious place she could’ve gone to be out of sight- not in her bright red coat, anyway. 

I boarded the bus, worried that I hadn’t seen her and worried that she would miss her transfer. It was me and one other girl who boarded. I thought that maybe HatLady had somehow boarded ahead of me and I just hadn’t noticed, but she wasn’t in any of the seats as I made my way to the back of the bus. After sitting I glanced forward again to see if she’d boarded after me, but I still didn’t see her. I supposed that she may have chosen to take a different route and put it out of my mind. Maybe she had other plans.

As the bus wended it’s way to the highway, I worked on a post for the day. When I finished, we were nearing the top of the pass through the hills. Glancing forward along the length of the bus, I recognized a familiar hat. HatLady was on the bus! When did she get there? How did she get there? Had she been there all along?  How had I not seen her?

While I’m certain there is a perfectly rational explanation, somehow, still reality seemed to have slipped. How did it happen? 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 12, 2017.

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