The bus jerks to a stop and a woman climbs the stairs of the bus. The woman has tired eyes and brown curly hair that probably wasn’t even brushed this morning. Jo watches as the woman drags two small girls in matching pink dresses behind her, one in each hand.
“Stay there,” the woman says to the older girl with her mother’s matching brown curls as she releases her hold to pay the driver.
Jo watches the girl take a few cautious steps down the aisle, glancing back mischievously at her mom. The girl darts to the seat next to Jo and crouches down to hide. Peeking out, the girl puts a finger to her lip to signal silence from her younger sibling who watches her older sister with attentive blue eyes. Jo looks up to see the mother turn. There is a panic suddenly in the mother’s eyes.
Jo waves at the woman and points to the little girl's hiding spot. The mother registers the message and stomps over.
“Mabel! What did I tell you?” the mother scolds and grabs the girls hand once again.
The mother turns to Jo. “I am so sorry,” she says.
“It’s OK. I’ve been there. You have beautiful daughters.”
The woman smiles and thanks Jo before finding a seat. Jo sets her ticket aside and opens the front pocket of her purse to grab her phone. She presses speed dial #2.
“Hi mom!” a voice greets her after only one ring.
Jo smiles. “Hi honey. I’ve missed you.”