This evening, as Bus Nerd and I were getting off the 3, an elderly woman asked the bus driver where to catch the 4. She seemed confused by his explanation, so we told her to follow us. We walked her to the stop, and, since the 4 goes past my house, decided to wait with her instead of walking the rest of the way.
Her name, she said, was Lourdes, and she was trying to catch the 14. She had known all along that the 3 wouldn’t take her to the transfer point, but she had gotten on it anyway, because her friend always insisted on waiting with her until the bus came, and she didn’t want her friend walking home in the dark.
Lourdes lives in Mt. Baker–has for 40 years. She has lived in Seattle for 45 years, but she was born in the Philippines.
Lourdes doesn’t drive anymore because she is getting older and doesn’t feel she can do so safely. She doesn’t like visiting her children, who live in the Houston suburb of Sugarland, because Sugarland doesn’t have buses, and she can’t get around without asking for help.
Lourdes’ house is right next to the last stop on the 14 route. All the 14 drivers know her, she says, and watch to make sure she makes it inside.
Lourdes is Catholic. She celebrated Easter at St. James Cathedral. After church she ate dinner at the home of a friend, the same friend she was trying to spare from walking home in the dark when she purposefully got on the wrong bus.
Lourdes liked the coat I was wearing today. She wanted to know if had worn it to church. I told her I had, but I didn’t mention the roller blades or the laptop. I also told her that my mother had given me the coat, that it was a gift to her from my father over 30 years ago. Lourdes said I was lucky to wear the same size as my mother, and lucky to have a mother who took such good care of her clothes. She had thought the coat was brand new. Except that they don’t make nice coats like that anymore.
I offered Lourdes some of my Easter candy. She wasn’t hungry, having just eaten with the friend who had waited for the bus with her, but she took two pieces and put them in her bag.
When the 4 came, we rode with Lourdes to our stop, then told her where to get off to catch the 14, even though we knew she already knew.
We waved at Lourdes as the bus drove away. Lourdes waved back.