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Bus Story: Presentation Judgement

April 12, 2018

To say she has a “sinister aspect” would be understating the situation. Significantly. Garbed in dark folds of dense grey serge, she moves with sharp, jerky actions, as if she were being startled over and over again. Milky eyes harboring a greenish cast peer out from under a hood, framed by the limpest, darkest black hair there ever was. Piercings, of which there are several, give the impression of metal teeth protruding from her mouth.

She appears to be uninterested in the rest of the riders on the bus. Save one. A small, pink-cheeked cherub of a child sits on the lap of her father across the aisle. The woman stares intently at the child, muttering something unintelligible under her breath. I can see her hands, gloved in black as they are, manipulating what looks like a brass charm bracelet. Suddenly, her rheumy eyes dart up from the child to take in a woman who has just climbed aboard; and she gasps, audibly.

The new arrival is light and calm personified. Her open features, set off by sapphire blue eyes, are framed by auburn hair, swept upward into a stylish crown of braids. Her long coat is pearlescent with silver accents and on her wrists, a series of bracelets that catch the morning sun.

The Woman in Light stands, after boarding, right next to the father and his precious little daughter. I noticed that she, too, can’t take her eyes from the child, and in her pale and manicured hands, she fiddles with something. Like the other, her lips are moving with words we can’t hear.

Suddenly, as the bus reaches a stop and the doors open, the Woman in Light moves with the speed of a striking viper towards the child, reaching out to snatch her from her father’s lap. But her hands are stopped, inches from the child by a barrier; an unseen wall of pure love and protection. As her hands collide with the shield, the Dark Woman grunts slightly with the effort of holding it in place. With a snarl that belies her aspect, the Woman in Light gathers her coat around her and flees the bus, other riders in front of her suddenly shoved aside by invisible hands.

The child’s father, still quite stunned by what just happened in front of him and his child, stammers out a “thank you” in a reverent whisper to the Dark Woman. She smiles and nods in return. At the next stop, she rises and departs the bus, leaving those of us who witnessed her heroic act to remember stories we’ve been told, admonishments about books and covers, and, most significantly, to re-examine our deep seated myth-based biases about women with magic.

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From → Bus Stories

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