“You don’t want anything, you’re not hungry” my mother asks. I take a deep breath and slowly exhale, showing my discomfort due to the long period of sitting on metal chairs. I reply “Yeah, I’m okay Mom. If I get hungry I can just grab a taco to eat when we stop at a convenient store or something.”
We have been waiting for over an hour for the Greyhound bus and it still hasn’t arrived. “This bus is taking forever…” I say to my mom, as I look down at my screen-cracked Apple iPhone 4, after checking the time. “I hope nothing happened to the bus on the road. You never know, there are crazy people out there” My mom says. “Mom, you need to stop watching the news. The only thing that probably happened is the stupid bus driver just sucks at driving. Now, I’m going to get to Austin all late because of this stupid bus” I said, in an annoyed tone.
After another hour the bus attendant at the front desk says, “The bus from Laredo to Austin, Texas via San Antonio has been delayed but will be arriving in about thirty minutes. If all the passengers going on this trip can get in a line and have your tickets ready, that will assist us in speeding up the traveling process.” “Finally!” I say as I start yawning so it sounds like nonsense. “You know it’s okay to be scared. If you want you don’t have to go, you can just go to college here. You can just stay at home, then you don’t have to pay rent” my mother says in a low voice. Without skipping a beat I respond, “Yeah Mom, I already know, you’ve told me a hundred times.” She shrugs her shoulders, as if saying “okay fine then.”
Every five minutes from then on, we spend apologizing to the people behind us for nudging them with my large luggage bag. “You know Rebecca’s son Anthony, he was also the youngest, he went to Texas A&M and then came back after two years and owed $30,000. I don’t know why he didn’t just go to college here, it’s the same thing.” I close my eyes and open them trying to visualize the bus arriving. “Once they leave the house they forget about the mother, all they care about is finding a woman and then they never-” “Mom you make it sound like Austin is around the world. I will come and visit, plus you can just call me if anything happens” I say as I continue to looking out the window. “That’s what all your older brothers said and now they don’t even come and visit me or call” she continues, “They find a woman and then they just forget about the mother.”
The bus finally arrives. The line waiting begins to move forward slowly “Damn this bus took forever” I say as my mom follows me in the line. “You’re not forgetting anything” my mother asks. “Nope, if I need anything I will just buy it once I get to the dorms” I reply, trying to quickly nudge my way through the door frame so no one tries to pass me in line. “Can I see your ticket?” the bus driver motions to the loose sheet of paper in my hand, “I just need to see the confirmation number.” “Yes, here you go,” I say as I hand him the online Greyhound bus pass I printed earlier in the morning. He takes one second to look at the sheet of paper, then looks up at me and says, “Okay, if you have any luggage you can just place it under the bus and then go in and take a seat that is available.”
I see other people placing their luggage and bags under the bus and do the same. After putting my luggage under the bus, I turn around to see my mother there just holding her hands, her body looking so tiny. “Don’t worry mom, I’ll call you when I get there, okay?” I reassure her while she just nods and smiles. She grabs my hand and says, “Here, just in case you need anything.” I take a quick glimpse at my hand and notice a crumpled ten dollar bill. She gives me a long warm hug. “Are you okay?” I say to her. She takes a long pause and then responds “I’m okay” As I began enter the bus, turned around and shouted, “Don’t worry mom, I’ll be okay too.” My mother’s face was red with rivers of tears running down her eyes and nose. She tried her best to fake a smile, looking even smaller now with only herself to hold onto. “I know” she mouthed and I heard her voice even with all the people shoving me to get to an open seat.
She stayed watching until the bus and her baby boy was finally out of sight. I don’t think I had ever seen my mother cry before that moment.