She comes to the road that connects the neighborhood with the city and stops in the usual place. Despite all her precautions she’s started to sweat again. The cloudless sky and the absence of a breeze adds to the heat. At times, waves of hot air with the odor of asphalt hit her in the face. In front of her, the deserted road. At her back, some hundred meters, the bus stop is an oasis of shade in the midst of the glare and a refuge for the numerous would-be short distance travelers. Many years ago the local bus stopped running and the odyssey began for the residents of the neighborhood who now had to rely on alternative means of travel. Although in theory there were many possible options: the still-circulating intercity bus service, the bus service for workers, State cars, rental cars ranging across the spectrum of legality to illegality, even up to cars pulled by horses, reality demonstrated that these options weren’t solving the problem. And what’s more they bring another aggravation: the stress. The daily insecurity of meeting their schedules joined the long list of strains that people had to endure.
Many years ago when the location of the neighborhood was planned, no one anticipated what would come. The route by bus, including delays for stops, didn’t take more than half an hour, and if you went by car or taxi it was much shorter. The crisis, like a national Big Bang, extended the distances. The travel time to the city tripled, to the municipalities it quintupled, and to the neighboring provinces it was multiplied by ten. Trips that require crossing two or more provinces are nearly impossible. Taxis are a hazy memory. It’s been years since she’s seen the fence on the border of the province. From her first travels in childhood, this fence has had a special significance for her. She remembers when her father showed it to her for the first time. She was traveling in an old bus with small windows, hot and slow, to visit her paternal grandparents. The heat and thirst irritated her and she asked her father, for the third time, when the journey would end. He sat on his legs and said, with an air of mystery, that if she paid attention in a little bit she would see the place where one province ended and another began. This aroused her curiosity. A little later she saw a fence in vivid colors, enormous trees surrounded by flowering shrubs and several stones of different sizes. She asked her father if the people who took care of this place made this trip every day, but she can’t remember his answer.
Her grandparents died in those dark years and with them died the reason to travel. Then came marriage and the children and her life became more static. Now that she thought about it she hadn’t had an opportunity to repeat with her own children the scene she just remembered.
A car approaches and she puts out her hand in a gesture repeated many times.