People on the bus

I’m sitting on a bench that was probably once bright green, but now is a sickly weathered olive.  It’s chilly, and the wind smells like rain.  I see a bus pull into its slot here at the terminal and read its destination.  My stomach does a dip at the confirmation that this is, indeed, my bus.

I pick up my ancient purple L.L. Bean back pack and the borrowed leather duffel and I stand, patting my coat pocket to make sure the ticket is where I left it.  The driver descends the bus steps, opens them, puts one foot outside and makes eye contact.

“Coming with?”  He asks, with a smile.  It’s probably supposed to be friendly, but it strikes me as a bit neurotic and I wonder if he’s jacked up on NoDoz. I nod and look down to my bags and he steps the rest of the way out of the bus to open the luggage compartment beneath the seats.

I toss my duffel in and force myself to look back up and into his face.  I try to smile, but it’s hard to tell, and I’m sure the effort doesn’t show in my eyes. “Thanks.”

He makes that “after you” gesture with his arms and I sigh and sweep my backpack onto my shoulder and make my way inside the bus.

I’m relieved to see it’s a newer bus, not one with that velvety sort of upholstery that I’m convinced harbors decades worth of germs.  I maneuver my way to an empty row of seats in the middle, on my left side.  Placing my bag down on the aisle seat, I settle into the window seat, and watch as that expected rain starts to trickle down the windows.

Once the bus pulls onto the main highway, I feel a bit more relaxed.  It’s done.  I’ve left.  Onwards and upwards from here.

My nerves a bit calmer, I start to survey the other passengers on this unexpected journey.

There is a couple two rows up on the opposite side.  They seem about my age, maybe a bit older.  She is resting her head on his shoulder and he rest his on her head.  I start to wonder what their story is.

I pull my mp3 out of my bag, switch it on, and start to imagine…

“Any pain, babe?” he whispers, taking her hand.

“Yes.  But I’m glad for it.  Only thing left now.” She starts to tremble.

“Stop, stop… We thought about this for months, weighed the options.  It was the best decision for all three of us.  Five of us really…”  He takes her hand and rubs his thumb along the back of hers. “We did a good thing, Cam.”

She trembles harder, her free hand going instinctively to her newly flat belly.  She quickly pulls it away and tucks it under her leg instead.

“Trevor…  Can we do this for real someday?  For us?”

“Yeah, babe, of course.  One day.”  He whispers and a single tear rolls down his cheek, landing in her hair.

(stay tuned to see who else is on the bus…)

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