Every time the bus approaches a stop, the brakes have come in too late, and Chelsea must grip the front of her seat on either side of her narrow hips, to avoid sliding up the pocket of her seat like a half pipe, and into the large woman with child on her lap, who is sitting next to her.
She smiles every time this almost happens, thinking both that she is on some sort of roller coaster, and that if she were to fall off, the bosom of the mother next to her would catch her, and she and the little boy on the lap would be safe there.
The little boy turns his head, and Chelsea sees a spot of drool on his mother’s shoulder, and she knows the kid has seen this, or at least feels it on his chin. Mama doesn’t acknowledge the saliva, but when the man next to her stands she plops her baby on his seat, directs his legs to dangle, and places his Bob The Builder backpack behind him in the seat.
Then, her magnificent arm sweeps both boy and backpack into the fat of her hips, his hair getting mussed in her armpit. Chelsea finds herself wanting both to shrink to the little boy’s height, and to plump up to Mama size, to have a belly for baby to bounce on, to have a bosom worthy of being called a bosom.
* Published with Bay Area Generations