Outside her window, the sun was shining. There was not a cloud in the sky.
Mitzi looked at her Chihuahua and said, “C’mon, monster, we’re going to the park!” But her sights were not set on the small park nearby. Oh no.
Mitzi wanted a long walk in Central Park.
Her monster was soon leashed for the ride uptown.
Around three, Mitzi and her monster were uptown and boarding a cross town bus. It was crowded; Mitzi stood a little more than halfway to the rear of the bus, nestling her quivering pup against her chest.
A boy with long hair and brown eyes made his way through the passengers, brushing past Mitzi on his way toward the back of the bus. He carried a trumpet case.
He was followed by a tow-headed boy holding hands with a red-haired girl. The girl held a stuffed black kitten.
Mitzi knew these faces. She had seen them many times in photographs, among the alphabet magnets on their father’s refrigerator door.
She instinctively averted her gaze, then realized: these kids did not know her. They would not recognize her on a bus.
But where, she wondered, was their father?
She looked around and saw him standing a few feet away, unable to move back to the children.
The kids were unconcerned. They knew that their size gave them an advantage over Dad in navigating a crowd.
They also knew that Dad can space out on the bus. He knew where his babies were. He retreated into his thoughts.
The bus crossed the park.
At the next stop, the bus emptied many of its passengers. Dad looked for the children.
He found Mitzi smiling at him.
She nodded through the crowd pushing toward the rear exit.
He looked confused for a moment, then smiled back. He shuffled toward her, looking over shoulders as he moved to the rear of the bus.
By the time he reached her, she was gone.
He looked out the window to see her drop her monster to the sidewalk. Mitzi shook out the leash and walked away, never looking back.
At home that evening, Mitzi got an instant message:
Jefferson: I think your monster is stalking me.