May 19, 2009

The Buses Are Late

I'm sitting in the shade under the arch of the middle school entrance, waiting to pick up a student from a field trip. It's after six o'clock: the buses are late, the stressed parents ask each other the time and make sour jokes. A father sits in a parked black Mercedes, the engine idling with the air conditioner on.

Aloof, I get up and step into the bright spring heat, just behind the sprinkler hose that sheds a fine cool spray over the flower bed by the flagpole. On every projecting surface a droplet shines.

In New York the assistant principal of a middle school has died, that city's first swine flu fatality, and eight schools have been closed.

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