Riding the bus has changed a bit. Mask-wearing and social distancing is now the norm. And the bus has never been cleaner – and quieter. Cherry trees and dogwoods dot the rapid transit line, the Emerald Express, otherwise known as the EmX. The pace is quick, but the ride is relaxing.
Ana takes the bus to work and to see her dad. She hasn’t owned a car since moving to Emerald City. Max takes it to and from school and his part-time job at the arcade, which has been open on and off since the pandemic began. Ana waits on the platform, ear buds in, listening to her favorite podcast. Max stands by with his bike, ready to board, flipping through a comic book as he waits. Ana normally keeps to herself, but she notices the comic book, points, and asks which one he’s reading – her little brother is into comic books, too. They launch into a conversation about the best superheroes and which super suit is better and why. He asks where she works and says he’ll stop by for food sometime. Maybe he’ll bring his roommates, maybe not.