Her shoes slapped the concrete faster and faster. Chest heaving, Jane tried to yell for someone to hold the door, but her voice did not come quickly enough.
She slowed to a walk and tried to avoid inhaling the cloud of exhaust the bus left behind. Coughing, she sat down on the bench and tried to catch her breath.
“That’s why I don’t bother running.”
Jane turned to find a girl in skinny jeans and a gray, plaid shirt plopping down onto the bench next to her, a bright smile across her face.
“I had to try,” Jane sighed, “who knows when the next bus will come.”
“Whenever I miss a bus, I figure there’s a good reason,” the girl leaned back and lit a cigarette, offering the pack to Jane. “It won’t help the exhaust, but it might calm you down a bit. Nothing we can do now but wait.”
“Thanks.” Jane took the offer despite having promised her friends she would quit just the night before. “I’m going to be so late.”
“There’s no use lamenting that. Between stress and the cigarette you’ll give yourself a heart attack.”
“You’re smoking.” Jane raised an eyebrow at the girl. She wondered how they looked, a forty-year-old woman sitting and smoking with a girl who couldn’t have been older than twenty. Her black pant suit itched against her legs, hot from the sun.
The girl smiled again, exhaled two long gray streams through her nose, “I’m not stressed out. I don’t have to be anywhere for another two hours.”
“That’s crazy. We should be able to trust the timetables.”
“True, but the reality is we can’t. We can only adapt to the circumstances.”
“Or get a car,” Jane said wryly.
“Sure,” the girl shrugged, “but then we wouldn’t have met.” She winked at Jane slyly and put out her hand, “I’m Taylor.”
“Jane,” she replied, vaguely confused, “nice to meet you.”
The girl squeezed Jane’s hand warmly.
I guess I was meant to be hit on by a twenty-year-old girl today. Better than in a bar, I suppose.