A Morning Commute
A Morning Commute
Bill puts his arms around Cindy and leans closer to her shoulder. He whispers into her ear. Cindy’s green eyes opened wide.
“What?” she responded. The city bus jolted as it made its way into the traffic lane.
“I said I may not be coming home tonight. We got trouble.” he repeated louder.
She looked up at him, a growing feeling of nausea inching its way up toward her dry mouth. Her skin paled and her heart beat faster. How could he smile? Where was he going? She became frightened.
“Don’t worry Cindy, it’s nothing. Remember the money Carl, Neal and I have been winning on the ponies? The money that paid for the last trip to the Poconos and the down payment on the SUV?”
Cindy waited silently hardly breathing at all. An aura of panic surrounded her. Her knees grew weak.
“Well, it wasn’t exactly the ponies. You know Neil works for American Overnight Shipping.”
Cindy nodded in agreement.
“He’s been slapping new labels on some of the packages to reroute them to Carl’s Gas station. Then, he sold the merchandise to his customers.
Cindy shot a quick glance at the man across the aisle. His eyes were open and he had as much interest in the conversation as Cindy did. He wore a three piece suit, carried an attaché case and a copy of the Wall Street Journal. She dropped her eyes to the floor and starred at a sprinkling of paper shreds from Life Saver wrappers. She knew the man seated across the aisle had heard every word. Her cheeks felt hot, her hands and feet cold. It was humiliating.
“That stupid moron got carried away and diverted too many parcels, especially last Christmas, and their security people got onto us.”
The bus came to an abrupt stop at the entrance to the ferry terminal. The air was damp and a cold wind made her shiver.
“None of us has a prior arrest record so we’re all given a low bail. Remember the night I was late for your parent’s anniversary party? That was the night we got busted. The charges are conspiracy. Can you believe that crap? Conspiracy! For God sakes it was pretty larceny. I don’t know why they are making such a big deal about it. They were just a few Christmas presents.” he continued out loud impervious to the people around them in the crowded bus.
“Why are you telling me now, Bill? I’m on my way to work. What can I do?”
“I didn’t want you to make a fuss. You know how unreasonable and emotional you can be; overreacting and all.”
The man the man who was on the bus was walking alongside them as they headed for the ferry terminal.”
“Bye, honey. I’ll see you tonight. If not, it means I’m in jail.”
Cindy boarded The Spirit of America and the man with the Wall Street Journal boarded also, along with all the other commuters heading for Wall Street. She climbed the steps to the upper deck and walked forward to of the front of the boat. She looked straight ahead over the frigid whitecaps toward Manhattan and work. She could feel the power of the monstrous diesel engines grinding in the depths of the ferry. The keel of this ferry was built from the steel recovered from the World Trade Center Towers and named The Spirit of America. .She tried to imagine her future without Bill. She noticed the man with the Wall Street Journal was standing beside her. He saw the tears running down her cheeks. Cindy wanted to scream into the cold wind. Instead, she clutched the metal passenger rail tightly and gazed forward across the bay at the Statue of Liberty. How could she face the people at work? She had to get it together. Her hands gripped the metal railing more tightly. The metal was cold and hard. She had to go to work. She couldn’t lose her job now. Oh god, Mom and Dad, what will they think? Bill had told her he had an appearance at 10:00 AM at the Federal courthouse in Brooklyn. If I’m not home by seven, I’m in jail. Don’t worry, he had said. Otherwise I’ll pick you up from work and we’ll have time to go cash your check -its Friday remember? We can have dinner at Anthony’s, enjoy the fireplace and swallow a few glasses of their fine red wine. He had pressed the Lotto ticket into her free hand, kissed her clenched fist for luck and said,”I almost forgot. A little present. Mazel Tov.”
The Spirit of America docked in Manhattan. Cindy, the man with the Wall Street Journal and other passengers disembarked onto the streets of lower Manhattan. The trip across the may seemed timeless; neither fast nor slow. “I think you could use this. I put some extra sugar in it. “ he said as he offered her a cup of steaming coffee. “Go ahead take it.” She felt so alone. She took the hot cup of coffee and uttered a thank you.
I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation on the bus. Everything is going to be OK. Here’s my card. Call me tomorrow and let me know how things work out. Maybe I can help. I’m an Attorney. I can also be a friend.” Cindy took the card. She looked at it and saw that his name was Michael Ross.
“Thank you Michael. I will.” he took her hand and led her to the taxi stand. He opened the door to the cab. She entered.
“Where do you work?”
“Number One Wall Street, Baker, Mott and company. 60th floor.
“Take her there.” said Michael and paid the driver in advance.
“Things are looking up. Spring is on the way. Crocus, tulips, daffodils, you know. Everything is gonna be OK.” Michael said.
Cindy smiled as the cab moved away from the ferry terminal. Tomorrow is another day she thought.