Emily via the Greyhound Bus

By (author): Allison Kydd

We meet Emily travelling on a bus, suffering from morning sickness, and reflecting on her past life – on jobs she has worked, relationships she has had, and her years of growing up as a First Nations girl. Years of making the wrong choices, especially with men, have left her confidence shaken and with a legacy of unexpected children. Without much money and not even a suitcase, Emily becomes a tragic figure but somehow through her independence and determination she rises above this stereotype. As the bus rolls west from Toronto across the prairies various passengers engage Emily in conversations, some with evil intentions of taking advantage of her. Throughout these incidents we discover Emily’s hard-edged attitude for survival and her instinctual savvy.


Allison Kydd

Allison Kydd works as an English distance instructor/tutor for Athabasca University, is on the board of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and has been widely published in magazines and journals.


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When her stomach stopped heaving, her knees still trembled so much she thought she might fall, so she sank into a squat in the narrow space between the wall and the door. Her heart, meanwhile, thudded in time with the refrain in her head.

Help me-Jeremy, help me.

Not that she expected him to answer, since he wasn’t with her and, as far as she was concerned, had already cast her away. It was just habit. She hated being alone again and knew the ache for him would get worse before it got better.

When Emily could stand and could raise her eyes from the slush on the toilet bench to the mirror in the metal wall behind it, she saw her reflection and was surprised to see her face unchanged. Granted, her skin was green-tinged from the dim light in the cubicle-and the camouflage T-shirt stretched tight across her breasts looked grey. Other than that, one would never know.

It was the same heart-shaped face looking back at her, the same prominent cheekbones and high forehead. The same curtain of dark hair, with still no touch of grey. The other girls at the convent school used to admire her hair. They wished they were Indian, they said. Even her kookum had told her she was pretty, that her mom used to have the same eyes. ‘Shaped like almonds,’ Kookum had said, and smiled as she remembered, ‘same nice long eyelashes too, and pouty mouth.’

Emily had smiled back, though they both were saddened that her mom’s face had seen hard times since she was a girl.

As she stared at her reflection in the washroom mirror, Emily noticed her lips gaping apart in what Marty had called her ‘Lolita look.’ Marty. She hadn’t understood what he was talking about, though she knew from his mocking tone that it wasn’t a compliment.

Another faint spasm went through her. Instead of yielding to it, Emily forced herself to look at the mess she had made and consider how she would clean it up. Fortunately, it was morning, and the bus had just been serviced. The towel dispenser was well stocked. Too bad there weren’t any of those little foil packages with their antiseptic lemon scent. They might have covered up some of the stink.

Someone rattled the door latch, and Emily whacked a response with the flat of her hand to warn that someone off. The smack hurt-a good clean pain that shot up her palm and across her wrist and gave her a kind of relief. She squared her shoulders and got to work.

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64 Pages
8.55in * 5.55in * .25in


October 15, 2012


Thistledown Press



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