Digging through his backpack for something-or-other, buddy braces himself against the bus’s forward and side-to-side motion, doing the “Look, Ma, no hands” thing at just the wrong moment. The bus lurches and he lurches, but adroitly regains his balance by stepping back, hard. Hah!
Then some woman spoils the moment by yelling in his ear. “Ow!”
“Sorry,” he says, immediately. Credibly, too, all things considered. He clearly didn’t mean to stomp my foot.
But he did. Two of my favourite things — buses and rush hour — have just merged to produce a hybrid: buses at rush hour.
I look at my right foot and wonder whether it’s just bruised or whether buddy cracked one of the 26 bones my feet contain: one-quarter of the bones in my whole entire body, at least by number. Sort of piggy of the feet, if you ask me, not that you did. Unwise, too. Of the feet, I mean, not you.
After all, they’re small, most of them (the bones, not my feet), and they’re positioned so they stick out, horizontally, susceptible to stomping. Talk about your arguments against Intelligent Design.
An hour later, as the rush-hour-delayed bus disgorges me onto the path that runs by the back of my house, I step down gingerly, still favouring that right foot. I’m not quite hobbling, but I’m watching every step, at least until I’m distracted by a blur of ten shades of pink.
On a preschooler-sized scooter, a preschool-sized kid scoots along the path ahead of me and of her father, who is pushing a younger sibling in a stroller. All goes scootfully, until it doesn’t. I don’t see the root cause of the accident — A bump in the asphalt? An errant stone? A twig deviously placed by one of the squirrels that infest this path? — but I see and hear the result quite clearly.
She’s down, a shades-of-pink tangle of bare legs and scooter. Crash bang.
As I walk towards the accident scene, still minding my foot, I wait for the wail, the tears, the pout. Something in keeping with all that girly-girl pink. But it is not to be.
She hops up and turns to reassure her father. “I’m OK. It’s just a scratch.” And she’s off again.
Just like that. Not even an “Ow.”