Monday, August 10, 2009

The journey of the bus ride

I step onto the bus, my heels clicking slightly on the hard surface. 'Just going downtown thanks" I murmur to the bus driver. She glances at me. 'Concession?' She asks. I nod a yes automatically before I remember I am in the inbetween year. Technically I am no longer a concession, and won't be for another 6 months. I am an adult. She asks for my concession card. I fake searching through my wallet. 'It's not there, don't worry about it' I say. Why the false pretense? I don't even know why I do some of the things I do.

I continue down the bus, ignoring the eyes looking at the new arrival to board. I notice I don't fit in here. This doesn't surprise me. I never quite fit in, nor stand out. Slipping under the radar is a game I could go pro at. However dressed in tight jeans, long boots, an oversized cardigan, striped scarf, my hair straightened to perfection, my fringe obeying me for once, and my make up covering facial flaws I feel slightly self concious as I take in the people around me, eyes hidden behind over sized sunglasses. I slip in my ipod headphones and continue to observe.

There is a young couple sitting across from me. My age, couldn't be much older. They have a toddler in a pram. The girl looks typical teenage drop out, with a typical drop kick boyfriend. I immediately feel some guilt at my shallow first impressions as I watch the boy smile rather lovingly at his daughter as he rocks the pram. I can't help wonder though if they ever had a plan and whether having a child so young was part of it. I glance at the girl, her hair tied back in a tight ponytail, regrowth seeping through. I wonder if she got mixed in with a wrong crowd. I wonder what her parents said when they found out she was pregnant. I wonder if she dreamed of getting out of the town, and pursuing bigger dreams. I wonder if her baby is the best thing that has ever happened to her.

I feel my neck prickle, and I glance discreetly over at a man, who is also looking at me. He is old, a bitter expression on his lined face. He holds onto a walking frame, and continues to glance around at the patrons on the bus, his brow furrowed. I wonder if he does what I do - observe, think and wonder. I wonder what he thinks of me then when he looks at me. I wonder if his thoughts on the young couple were similar to mine. I could be wrong though. Maybe he's just looking at the different views outside the window. It wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong.

A lady drops down in the seat in front of me. Her hair is slicked with oil at the top, before the greasy strands turn thicker, into a ball of fluff at the bottom. A bobby pin secures the hair back. I wonder when the last time she washed her hair was. I wonder if I would ever get to the point of not caring as to go out in public like that.

The bus is a symbol of what I don't want my life to be. It is a place of lost dreams, lost hope. It is a place of people who have given up. You can see it in their eyes. They aren't content, aren't happy. I vow to myself I am never going to be another lost soul, riding on a bus, in a desparate and futile attempt to find the right destination.

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