What if I had missed the bus?

As I walk to the bus stop to catch the bus to work, I pass a middle-aged gentleman who has seen better days and was far from a gentleman. As I approached him, I saw the beverage he was knocking back was a cold one. Thrown over his shoulder like Santa Claus was a bag barely holding a conservative half dozen more cans. I do my best to look straight ahead as I pass him, but over my music blaring through my head phones as any young person has nowadays, I hear him utter “damn I want you badly”. I walk straight past without giving him a glance. I can handle an inappropriate comment, I’ve been raised to ignore and move on. As I get closer to my bus stop, I see a young girl, maybe 10 years old in the shelter waiting for a bus. I stand in the shelter and give her a slight smile, so she knows she’s not alone because she has noticed the drunken man on the street too and looks terrified. The man approaches me to ask if I have a cigarette, which I say no to. He stands for a minute, looks me up and down and walks away; there’s someone else on the street he can pester. As soon as he’s out of ear shot I go to the girl while keeping a smile on my face, that the man is drunk, and not to talk to him even if he talks to her. I told her I was there and that everything was ok. She nodded vigorously, and I smiled in reply. My bus was coming and the man came back over, I looked back at the girl and let her get on first. The man didn’t have a bus fare so we were able to get away free. When I sat down and got on my phone, she asked if she could sit with me. I move my bag and save of course. She told me that it was the first time taking the bus by herself. She explained her mom warned her to be leery of strangers and she dismissed her because she thought her mom was exaggerating, as usual. I told her that not everyone in the world is a good person and learning that is a scary reality. She got off before my stop and as she stood up, she thanked me with the biggest and most innocent eyes. I smiled and told her it was my pleasure and to get home safe.

I almost missed the light to cross the street to get to the bus stop.

What would have happened had I missed the light?

What if I missed the light?

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