On my way home this week, as I was standing by the number twenty stop, a bus came up and halted as usual. I learned long ago to watch out and take care, as there were in fact two buses plying the same route. One goes all the way to the St. Vincent’s Hospital, about five miles to the west, and the other only goes halfway. I was standing at the halfway point, and knew that it would just turn around there.
Suddenly, I heard the burly black bus driver yelling. I noticed a little Asian woman sitting bewildered as he rather impolitely ordered her off the bus. She was frozen in fear and misunderstanding, and didn’t move. I thought he would try to evict her physically. So, contrary to form, I stepped up to the door and told the driver that I could speak Chinese, and that I would explain to the woman why she needed to get off.
“Good Mother,” I addressed her with a very old-fashioned, polite title, “This is the wrong bus. This is the end of the line.” She looked at me in horror as I went on. “Are you going to the hospital?” I asked
“Yes,” she said weakly.
“This is bus 20A and only goes to here, but the next bus will go all the way to the hospital.” She smiled wanly and stepped off the bus. “Look!” I said, “here comes the other bus now.”
We both got on the second bus, and went to the back and sat down. It was rather full. Then she spoke to me quietly: “You are a ghost, aren’t you?”
“No!” I said, “I am a Sai‑yahn (a Westerner) who lived in Hong Kong a long time.”
“But I can see you!” she said knowingly. I just smiled. And, as I was getting off at my stop a bit further up the hill, I glanced back at her; and she just said: Ngon tai dak neih! (I can see you!)
As I walked up the short way to my condo, I thought … I wonder how many times have I heard testimonies in church services when fundamentalist Christians claim to have seen and spoken to angels. I wonder if there really is that much difference after all.