Mary Lou hoped that Mark was as accommodating as he had been up to that point on down the line when things got more convoluted and sticky, as Mary Lou was expecting. They discussed other things she would need and Mark said he expected that they could get everything set up and ready to go by noon, or shortly thereafter.
Mary Lou took her time getting ready. She flipped on the television, which he never did before work, and listen to the news, and then listen to a talk show. It seems so strange having this extra time, these few minutes not to have to rush off to work. She showered, dressed, put on makeup, and even had some breakfast. After messing around all that time, it was only 10:30 AM. She still had an hour and a half before was time to show up at the new office. Maybe she'd go downtown, go into the mall and into the food court and check on Lucia. See if she could see Isabel and make sure that the two of them were okay. Not that she needed to do that, because, she didn't have any expectations that anything would be wrong. But she had this extra time, this extra time she wasn't used to having.
The morning was brisk. After a hard run the briskness would have felt fine. Of course, there had been plenty of time for a brisk run but Mary Lou had not taken it. She put up her collar, put her hands in her pocket and picked up her pace. If she walked faster, she would warm up, perhaps even before she reached the platform, where she would catch the light-rail downtown.
The traffic was heavy, but not as heavy as it would have been earlier. It ran unbelievably busy from about 6 AM to about 9 AM. That's why Mary Lou had chosen the work schedule she had, because the traffic wasn't bad at 10 AM or later in the evening at 9 PM or later. Evening traffic during the normal commute, which run from about 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM, was always the worst of the day. She avoided it like the plague.
She stepped onto the train. It wasn't completely empty, but there were very few people on it. She had her selection of seats and found one convenient to look out the window toward the east, into the mountains. Usually she had her e-book reader with her. It contained hundreds of books, nigh onto a thousand. It allowed her to listen to music as she read. It would even read the text out loud. Also, she could cook professionally read books on it to listen to. Most of the time, today, however she just looked out the window, imagining her new office, her new assignment. She also thought about Lucia. Lucia and Isabel.
It was impossible to think about Lucia without thinking about herself. Lucia's situation seemed so tenuous, so fraught with anxiety and danger. Over against that was Mary Lou's situation. It didn't seem to be anything but be anxious about. It didn't seem filled with danger at all. There was, of course, as in every life, some tension and anxiety: most of it with perspective her had to do with her estrangement from her family and her culture and religion. Over against that there was Lucia. She wondered when the girl had come to America. She wondered how old she would have been then. She wondered how long she had gone to school here in the United States and how she had done, particularly with her disabilities. She wondered if the American system had in some way accommodated her relative to her disability, or had they simply cast her off because she was an immigrant without legal documents to be there. There is so much she wished she knew about the girl, and she planned to try and find out more.