The Red Bus

Submitted for Contest #86 in response to: Set your story at a park during a spring festival.... view prompt

14 comments

Mar 22, 2021

Contemporary Happy

Has lockdown made me lethargic and lazy. Has lockdown taken away my joy and energy. Lockdown is not normal for mankind.

I was basking in the sun as these thoughts ran through my mind. It was about a week ago that the announcement came that international travel was once again to reopen and as an avid traveler, my first thought was Great, now is the time to decide when and where to for the next trip.

That was a week ago and I have made no attempt to even Google or page through my numerous travel magazines for my next adventure. Why I think to myself. This is part of the excitement of the trip. The planning, the reservations, checking out the weather to see what to wear, interesting restaurants at my destination. What was wrong with me? Pull yourself together girl, it's time to get hyped about something again.

It was a beautiful day to take a walk around town. There was a sense of excitement in the air - the spring festival was on the doorstep and after the lockdown, who wouldn't want to attend that. 

As I walked past 'Milly's Home for the Aged', Agnes waved me down from the porch. She stopped at my side, out of breath from running down the pathway. "Are we social distancing or can I give you a hug?" she panted. I put my arms around this elderly lady that I had always admired for taking over the 'Home' when her Mum had passed on. "I'm very pleased to see you because lockdown has been really hard on our residents. They have had no outings in months which is no good for our bodies and mind." she went on.

"Tell me about it. I myself am battling with the body and mind," I said. "Everyone is in the same boat, especially in a small village like this, maybe things will change soon. At least we have the festival to look forward to." I greeted, then continued my walk about.

Passing the used car lot my eyes where drawn to a colorful party bus with a 'For Sale' sign taped to the windshield that brought me to a stop. Mr. Jetson came out of his office. "Morning Matilda, are you in the market for a motor vehicle?" he jested with me. "With that old lady, you could even start a business." This time he laughed out loud.

"Is it only for sale or is there any chance I could rent it for a day or two?" I enquired. I had an excited feeling that was bubbling in me. All kinds of ideas where running through my head. I hadn't felt this invigorated in ages.

"I think I can swing a deal with the owner - will let you know as soon as I have the answer." I thanked him and walked back home with a new gait in my step.

A few days later, Mr. Jetson let me know that the owners were willing to rent the party bus to me if all the insurance and permits where in order but my enthusiasm had me way ahead of all the planning. All legal documents where ready and waiting for the rental agreement. I was feeling like a kid again. Now for a few more arrangements and I was ready for a very exciting trip in my rented Party Bus.

"Agnes, it's Mathilda here," I said. "Please will you inform your residents that they must be ready for an outing on Saturday evening."

"What are you up to Mathilda," she giggled like a school girl. "May I come too?"

"Absolutely. See you on Saturday at five."

At five sharp, I pulled up outside the 'Home' and honked the horn. It wasn't actually a horn, more like loud music belting out "New York, New York". The front door was flung open by Agnes and she guided her residents down the path. Ten grandly clad ladies and gents with beaming faces. Mr. Hillman had to use his walking stick but he was trying to use it elegantly. Mrs. Wills had on a wide brimmed hat and way too much lipstick and I jumped out to help Mrs. Keats as she battled with her walker.

Between Agnes and myself, we had everyone safely seated about fifteen minutes later. I honked the 'New York" horn and with one voice I heard the residents take up the song as I pulled from the curb. I first took them on a slow drive through the village and as we passed the rows of houses, people in their gardens waved and cheered at our bus. Our destination was the restaurant, in the park, overlooking the lake where I had made arrangements for the evening. Gorgio and his staff came out to meet us in typical Italian style with hugs and cheers and making sure everyone got to their seat round an enormous table.

"Tonight my friends," he waved his arms around dramatically. "You are my guests and your wish is my desire! We will start off this years Spring Festival with a special dinner."

Mr. Hillman was very quiet so I went sit next to him. "You okay, Mr. Hillman?"

"I am savoring this moment of pure pleasure with all these wonderful people. I have you to thank for being so kind to us." He put his hand over mine and smiled at me. What an elegant young gentleman he must have been at one time I thought looking at his grey hair that was so well groomed.

Conversation started with the topic of everyone's ailments and allergies, but Gorgio had that covered thanks to information from Agnes about what could be served and what not. Once that was sorted they all relaxed and I heard about their families, plans of taking a trip and Mrs. Wills desperately needed new lipstick and I promised to help her get into town to shop.

My eyes strayed from one face to the next. There was a story to be told by each person at that table. A life time of happiness and sadness folded into the ups and down that life dishes out to all of us. These senior citizens had lived through war and peace, health and illness, flood and drought. They had been businessmen and women, had families and now even had great grand children. Now they will add PANDEMIC to this list.

Agnes and I could see that it was time to make our way home with our tired guests. Gorgio had gifts for everyone as he bade us goodnight and we took a slow drive home in content silence.

I was way too excited to fall asleep so I sat on my porch and opened my gift from Gorgio. I popped the Ferrero Rocher in my mouth, slowly the chocolate melted and I waited for the hazelnut filling to pop.

If I could feel this hyped about one evening with the folk from 'Milly's Home for the Aged', why could I not do this repeatedly for other homes and spread some joy in this time of the pandemic.

My phone buzzed on the table inside. Must be an emergency, I rushed to answer.

Agnes's number showed on the screen, "What's wrong Agnes?"

"Mathilda, I have a home full of very happy, hyped Senior Citizens tonight. We can't get to sleep and we would just like to say," there was a moment silence and then a loud "THANK YOU" from everyone on the other end.

I smiled. I was also happy and hyped. It was going to be a good Spring Festival this year.

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14 comments

Md Guerrero
10:24 Apr 20, 2021

This is absolutely pleasant.

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Ashlyn Marie
02:41 Mar 31, 2021

"I popped the Ferrero Rocher in my mouth, slowly the chocolate melted and I waited for the hazelnut filling to pop." This sentence, although seemingly ordinary, really touched my heart. I always find myself enjoying sweets and waiting for an inside filling to burst, but I never would have thought to include that in a story. This is why it's important for writers to take note of the little things they experience or see! The only advice I have is changing "popped" to something like "stuck". It's a bit unpleasant reading the same word twice in ...

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Estelle Westley
04:55 Apr 01, 2021

Thank you for the advise. I did not even realize it, even when I reread before publishing. Also, thank you for the compliment.

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08:03 Mar 29, 2021

I liked the very relaxed, enjoyable manner in which this warmth laden story unfolded.

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Estelle Westley
08:40 Mar 29, 2021

I am happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading

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Charlie Murphy
16:38 Mar 28, 2021

Great story! Senior citizens on a party bus! Who would've thought!

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Estelle Westley
08:41 Mar 29, 2021

I myself am a senior citizen, embarking on this writing journey and I think a party bus was very appropriate for them in this time. Hope you enjoyed the idea. Thanks for reading.

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Charlie Murphy
15:34 Mar 29, 2021

You're welcome. I liked it very much! You can read my story if you want

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Charlie Murphy
15:35 Mar 29, 2021

You're welcome. I liked it very much! You can read my story if you want

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Charlie Murphy
15:42 Mar 29, 2021

You're welcome, I liked it very much! You can read my story if you want.

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Lynn Dewees
16:17 Mar 28, 2021

What a wonderful story!

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Estelle Westley
08:42 Mar 29, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to read. Glad you enjoyed it.

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Lotus Fletchwood
03:27 Mar 28, 2021

Wonderful story! It was relaxing to read this. (≧◡≦) ♡ -L🍍

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Estelle Westley
08:43 Mar 29, 2021

I really enjoyed writing this. It did not start out as this story, but there we go - that is writing. Never know where it takes us. Thanks for reading.

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