This is an exercise done for my writer's group that I'm fairly fond of & may take further.
| The rhythm of the tires rolling over the breaks in the sections of pavement began to lull Abby into that relaxed state that bordered on sleep, but was not quite actual sleep. She didn’t want to fall asleep as there were many questionable looking characters on the bus with her and she needed to stay alert just in case. But she’d been awake for nearly 20 hours, including the time before the bus had even left the station in Tampa. She silently prayed for something, anything, to keep her awake. She knew they had to be getting close.
From somewhere a few seats back her prayers were answered when a small child began wailing to his mother about a cookie she wouldn’t let him have. Jarred back to reality, she sat up a little straighter in her seat and risked a quick glance at the little lady sitting next her. She smiled at Abby and went back to her knitting, but did strike up a conversation. “I don’t blame you for not wanting to sleep. I wouldn’t trust a one of these hooligans on this bus.”
Abby returned her smile, thankful to now have someone to talk to, to keep her from nodding off. “Yeah, there certainly are some strange looking people on here. You just never can tell about people anymore.”
“No, you sure can’t.” The old lady paused her knitting for a moment and offered Abby her hand. “Name’s Nellie.”
“Nice to meet you, Nellie. I’m Abby.” She took Nellie’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, afraid she might break the fragile looking little fingers as they gripped her hand. “So where are you heading?”
“Oh, I’m heading home to New York. Going to visit my daughter and grandkids. Haven’t been for a couple of years now. I been down in my back cause of the arthritis, but I’m finally feeling good enough to travel.” A sad, knowing smile came across her face. “Besides, I know I probably don’t have too much longer to spend with them. I’m not getting any younger.”
Abby was a little taken back by the lady’s frankness about her apparent impending death. “Oh now, don’t say that. You seem pretty healthy to me. I’m sure you’ve got quite a few years left.”
Nellie smiled and continued knitting as she talked. “Maybe, maybe not. Only one person knows for sure how long any of us have, and that’s the man upstairs.”
Abby fought the urge to roll her eyes out of respect for the little old lady and just smiled in agreement. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“That’s why you got to live everyday like it might be your last. Cause you just never know,” Nellie added matter of factly.
Abby pondered on that statement for a minute. Of course she’d heard it a thousand times and it was so cliché, but it was true. “Do you do that? Live everyday like it’s your last I mean?”
Nellie stopped for a minute to ponder this, her eyebrows kneading together in concentration. “No, not really.” She smiled and shrugged. “But I’m too old to worry myself with regrets now.”
This bothered Abby and she suddenly didn’t feel like talking anymore. She smiled at Nellie. “Yeah, I guess so,” she said as she turned to look out the window. Nellie must have taken the hint because she didn’t bother to continue the conversation either.
The scenery slowly became more and more familiar and she knew they were getting closer to home. Her stomach lurched and her heart began pounding in her chest. She tried to calm herself by taking deep breaths, but the more familiar everything became the harder it was. She caught sight of a green highway sign as the bus rambled on. It was too late to turn back now. Huntington, West Virginia, three miles.