she paused for a moment; she considered running away, even cursed her own reluctance. She stood there swearing under her breath the full expletive vocabulary she wielded at the mature age of nine. Counting the seconds gone by, she visualized where she could have run to if she had just had the courage to go instead of stay, to throw off the indignity of totalitarianism foisted upon her by an unjust power. And in a small way she did run away in that mist, the way you can still go places in your mind without really leaving when you're young enough to deny the reality of the world around you. She looked at the bench and considered it a figment, she decided she was halfway around the world daydreaming about the sadder, stiller version of herself that had stayed behind. She saw her mother go inside and imagined that she cried herself to sleep every night missing her little girl that should never have been made to go to school. She stared the bus driver right in the eyes and decided he was really a gruff shuttle bug in Mexico, ferrying her down the Pacific Coast. She never came back.