Bus 72

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It’s a long ride home, and Bus 72 always rolls at the same pace.

An unpleasant odor seeps from the man sitting to my left, who is dressed in tatters and mutters threats under his breath. “Boy, if you don’t shut up. . .”

The bus continues to roll along, and my eyes wander toward a girl with a bright red dot on her forehead. I can’t help but stare. Her baby cries, and she starts to sing a soft lullaby. Her baby gazes at me and I avert my eyes, noticing her dirtied sandals and pink sari. The baby starts crying again, and she hushes and rocks the baby to sleep.

Next to me, the yuppie slurps loudly from his coffee, dressed smartly in a suit and tie, and holding a suit case which he never lets go of. He sits up straight, eyes staring blankly at the window across from him, though his vision never seems to reach outside. The only time he turns his eyes away is to check his watch.

And then there’s me, sitting there like all the rest, with no regard for anyone nor feeling any kind of acknowledgement from them. The bus continues to roll at the same pace. Not quite so fast or quite so slow. There is barely an illusion of motion.

Little motion and no emotion; that is the way Bus 72 is. Sometimes I wish I could just tell these people who I am and how I feel, then I can listen serenely to their stories. I wonder how each of them got through the day with such serenity. What kind of hell did the Indian girl go through everyday, and where did she get the will to carry on and try to raise her child? Then I look at the man next to me. He is on this bus like me everyday, always his face staring lifelessly at the wall. What in the world can he be thinking?

The man’s face doesn’t change when the bus arrives at the next stop. He picks up his briefcase, shoves his other hand inside his pocket and walks out. Following him is the Indian woman, still singing softly to keep the baby quiet. The old man lies down and soon I hear snoring.

Nothing changes; the vacant seats echo the demeanor of the passengers. I feel no more alone then before.

I was alone; and I still am.





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