The 5 Stages of Grief

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Chapter 2, Gloria Thompson

“De bastard watch me runnin’ too.” Some of the steam had worn off, but not all. When you missed a bus out here in the whiter than white burbs, you had a lot of time to kill – time to cool down until the next one was due to arrive. Especially on the weekends. It hadn’t been the first time, though unfortunately it looked to be her last. The problem was she really needed the job, royal pain in the ass that the evil bitch was it was still a job and there were mouths to feed. The buses ran about every hour or so, maybe an hour and fifteen, so she still had plenty of time to sit and think. Could she go back? Apologize? No, not yet, she was still too angry for that.

Finally, the bus came trundling up the road. It looked new, pristine, not like the ones in her neighborhood. At home, the buses resembled graffiti covered gang billboards, occasionally advertising some poor girls sexual prowess along with her number if you wanted to check her out for yourself, only they moved. You were lucky if the jalopies made it close enough to your destination without breaking down on the way, leaving you stranded as it was too far a walk and through treacherous territory to your next piece-of-shit bus.

And crowded! she thought. Don’t get me started! Often, there was standing room only and the nasty-ass kids wouldn’t even budge to let a worn and tired woman sit down after a long day of kissing privileged white ass. Unlike these buses out here, driving around the neighborhood with nobody but the odd rich kid on them, who wouldn’t be riding long once their birthday, Christmas, Barmitzva gift arrived.

“Surprise! It’s a new car!” Muffy or Bunny or Biff or whatever they called their spoiled, the world owes me special treatment cause I was born to the right family and wear the latest designer wear, kids out here. “And eer’s your golden spoon to take wit-you – you lucky bitches.” Her last words echoing about her head, she realized she was being kind of pouty about it. Who was she kidding? She wouldn’t refuse the hand up if it ever came. She was born the wrong color in the wrong county to the wrong family, simple as that.

The bus rumbled up beside her and opened its doors. She surprised the bus driver and herself, when she waved him on. He shrugged his shoulders and pulled off. She could always catch the next one. Or try to muster up enough humility to go and ask for her job back. Or maybe she’d just wait a while longer and see which direction fate decided.

Who was she kidding? She knew she had to go back and try. She had nowhere else to go. As bad as that bitch was, a job was still a job and she was lucky to have one – correction, to have had one.

“Not yet though. I’m not ready to face dat bitch yet,” she said, resuming her place on the bus-stop bench, giving herself time to think.

The walk back was tough. This is what Jesus must have felt when he carried his cross up Calvary Hill, she thought in sadness. She considered herself a Christian, her mother had made certain of that, but she didn’t make it to church much on account of her work schedule. Okay, maybe not as severe as Jesus, as he was being whipped and spit on, sworn at and beaten, but close.

Climbing the few steps to the front door – each seeming steeper than the one before – her resolve all but left her, her heart hammering in her head, her ears, thump-thump – thump-thump. Reaching for the doorbell, her breath quick, shallow, she decided to peek through the little window instead.

“Passed-out-drunk out of er mind already. Looks to be right where I left er too.” She took a quick look around the neighbors to make sure no one was listening to her talk to herself like some batty old fool, then sighed, shoulders slumped. “No point in wakin’er – she jus’ be meaner. Probably call de cops or sometin.” She stood facing the street, her hand under her chin as she usually did when thinking, then decided to let herself in the back door and leave the old bitch a note of apology. Or maybe jus preten it never appen and show up on Monday! she sighed, somewhat relieved. That was a much better plan. She stepped down the few steps to make her way around the back.

He must ave eard de latch, was the thought running through her mind, as he was on her before she even turned around. She didn’t know why it mattered as it seemed to be the least of her worries at the moment. At the moment, she was trussed up like a pig and blindfolded. She was fairly certain she was outside as she could hear the night sounds and feel the occasional breeze blow up her dress which felt as though it had ridden up quite a bit. Not that she could do anything about that either. She appeared to be lying in one of the bushes as she could smell the fresh snapped twigs and feel the scratches and cuts they caused every time she moved. Her head pounded with too much bass and she could sense what seemed to be dried blood in her hair and on her face. It must have been quite a wallop to put her out like that, and with one hit. It will be a heap more dan a headache if whoever did dis comes back and finds the i still here, you silly girl, she chided herself, talking, calming herself silently. She’d been trying to move any part of her body to find a loose knot, some area she might be able to wiggling free from, but nothing. Just scrapes and cuts to add to countless others.

She froze, stopped struggling when she heard the back door whoosh open, the screen-door that followed. Instinct took over and she, for whatever reason, closed her eyes and played dead. She listened to the footsteps approach. It was only a few steps and then a kind of shuffling sound as they crossed the grass, where they paused. She could tell that, whoever it was, was standing not three or four feet away, staring down at her.

The minutes stretched forever with every hair, every sense, every pore of her being, screaming, the terror threatening to drown her. Then he spoke. His voice was calm, friendly. “I’m sorry I had to drag you into this Miss Thompson, it was never part of the plan. You were simply at the wrong place and time.”

That voice! I know that voice! Recognition enveloped overwhelming her mind – then a flash of searing pain, blinding white through closed eyes – then nothing, not even black.

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