Every day, he waited at the bus stop with the children. Every day, when the bus pulled up, he waited until after first his girl, then his boy, got on the city bus, each showing the laminated safety-orange pass to the bus driver, a free ride for students.
Then he walked up the steps and fed his dollar bill into the slot – sometimes four quarters, sometimes a mixture of dimes and nickels, depending on how long until payday.
It cost $2 per day, $1 in the morning, $1 in the afternoon, $376 per year, to do this: to ride the bus, with his girl, and his boy, as they went to school. He sat in the back, away from them, let them sit and talk with their friends, with the other 8 and 9 and 10 and 11 year olds who did this each day, without a parent watching over them.
In his mind, if he was not there, she, she would get off at the wrong stop and make the usual left, then right, turn to go to school but the school would not be where she expected it, and he would never see her again.
In his mind, if he was not there, he, he, would be asked by a man if the boy didn’t want to see something: a truck, or maybe a bulldozer. The boy liked machines. And the boy would hold this stranger’s hand and walk away from that day’s lessons, for ever.
In 250=1, I write stories that are exactly 250 words long, including the title. I've written lots -- the complete list is right here.