“The BUS Part I”

By Anna Harberger

The San Fernando Valley is a 260 square miles plot of life, existing between mountains and hill tops that form a great wall. The children are safe here from the homeless man and trash in the road. With time, the land has become something more than an aging doormat to be trampled on by material girls and boyfriends. It was after the Good War that Tongva land was subjected to this Levittown style facelift. Experts say that is why families have forgotten about bones and blood beneath the AstroTurf.

Calvert Street connected the neighborhood like a loose collection of twine. Cul de sacs held hands with the fading pavement adorned with the shells of decades old tract homes. Frances Tucker and her home were caught in the middle, trapped mostly by time and status.

A one story home, masked in egg shell colored stucco. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and kitchen. A floor plan expired like the unopened Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup cans stocked by her late, hypochondriac mother. She spent her years in the family home torn between her proclivity for love and a deep paranoia. By 8:30, she was manic, scratching earthquake evacuation plans in a miscellaneous notebook. She was walking home from the Ralph’s when a silver 1992 Subaru slammed into her body.

That was 1993. It was only a couple of months later when the Big One hit Northridge. Occasionally, Frances’ father thinks about this fact. Now, it is 2003 and things are not what they once were. The family has yet to decide if that is for the best.

Today is Friday, Frances is looking for a way out. Or a way in.