I slide into the window seat of the Transbay commuter bus. As I make contact with the seat I feel the unfamiliar weight of a child's backpack still slung over my shoulder. Grabbing a transfer, I exit at the next stop and begin running in the direction from which I just came. Back to the the school to deliver the backpack that holds the ballet uniform and the lunch money.
"I need to talk to you." The creative director says. "Aren't you going on vacation?"
"The kids are out of school so, I'm taking them to visit my parents for a long weekend. But I'm available to work remotely," I sputter. I have successfully completed six fast tracked jobs and have three projects that are no where near completion.
"We have to cut our budget. Next week will be your last. We'll try to get you back in as soon as we can."
The bus pulls out of the station, exits the garage and comes to an inexplicable stop. I've boarded the last bus that will allow me to make pick up. I look around at the other passengers, no one else seems panicked. No one else even seems concerned. Without warning, we're on the move, but when we get across the bridge we stop again. "We're just going to wait here for a few minutes folks." The driver offers up as an explanation.
"I should be charging you." The counselor of the after school program says glancing at the clock. The minute hand not yet reaching the number five. The fine is $10 for every 15 minutes you're late. "I need you to try to be a few minutes earlier." she says with a forced half smile.
How late are you working? I text Erik.
Very. Is his response.
Tears stream down Lula's face. I've just picked her up from private violin lessons. We've stopped at the grocery store to pick up some necessities and some cookies for Hazel's class. I'm the room parent. Last week I asked for volunteers to bring a few items for a small halloween class party. I've gotten no responses unless you count the crying six year old spouting "You didn't get anything for my class?"