Sunday, April 12, 2015

#152 Catching the Bus

The bus was supposed to come by any minute. I dash to the street corner and scan the opposite side for a bus stop while I wait for the light to change. I don't see one. Further and further down the street I search, until there at the next corner I see the back end of a bus, waiting at a little covered bus stop, a whole block away.

That can’t be my bus, can it?

It probably is. No way am I going to catch it now.

I watch for the bus to pull away from the stop, but it doesn't. Maybe the driver knows the bus is early. Maybe the driver is waiting.

I still have a chance.

Come on light, change! Change change change.

Traffic growls by, palm fronds rattle in the wind, myna birds peck at someone’s spilled French fries. The traffic light finally blinks green and the walk signal flashes white. I jog into the crosswalk, speed up, and hit the corner of the sidewalk at a dead run, wishing I was in shoes and not my thick-soled sandals.

Flop-slap, flop-slap, I push myself as hard as I can with my lap top computer tucked under my arm and my purse banging my side. The bus still has its doors open. Gradually, the yellow-green dots that spell out the bus number come into focus. Bus 55. My bus. The bus that only comes once an hour to take people from the city up to the north shore.

The bus doors close. I am still a whole parking lot away.

Wait for me, wait for me, wait for me, bus! I chant silently to the rhythm of my flapping sandals, too out of breath to say anything out loud.

Brakes squeak, the engine revs.

I bang on the glass doors.

The driver had been looking at something to her left. She pauses a moment. I  see her thinking, I totally don’t have to open this door for this girl. I could just drive away. But then she scowls at me and leans over to yank on the handle.

“Thank you!” I gasp, digging two one-dollar bills out of my wallet, then counting another fifty cents from the change pocket. I feed them into the indifferent machine. “All good?” I ask.

The driver nods, and I go as quick as I can to find a seat. I plop down, sweaty and out of breath, next to a pregnant woman who is looking at something on her cell phone. My short-sleeve jacket had come half-way off as I ran, so I pull it back on my shoulders, trying not to grin too big in case one of the other passengers might be looking. I had actually caught the bus!

The brakes squeal and the engine revs, and we lurch away from the curb.

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