The Bus Station
I went to the bus station. To pick up a visitor from Bangladesh. He was coming here. After the meeting in Belgium. And visiting our colleagues in Canada. He arrived in Milwaukee. And needed to take the bus. Here.
It’s a grim place. Dark. With plastic molded chairs attached in a row. And a water fountain with a big paper sign with “Sorry. Not in service.” scribbled in black marker. There’s an entire wall of vending machines. With dollar candy bars. And ice cream sandwiches. And sodas. Grimy. It doesn’t look all that different from bus stations in any number of countries. But it is here.
People who don’t watch their kids closely. And university students. And others riding the bus. Congregate in the station. Waiting.
The bus arrives. He is the first one off. And we go inside. To purchase a ticket for the next leg of his journey. The acned Greyhound employee says, “Good thing you’re buying this today. If you had waited until Friday, the bus would be full.” Yes. Good thing. I had forgotten about the holiday weekend. And that students are still leaving town.
I hand him a credit card. He whispers to me, “Do you need this stamped NO REFUND?” “No,” I say. But the question makes me sad. Because of all the people who have been in the station before. Buying tickets for others. And saying yes.