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The bus is crowded when I step on, people standing in the aisles. My nose wrinkled without my permission at the stench of sweat and something I couldn’t identify, maybe from the paper bag a passenger near me was holding.
“You’re blocking the door, move it!” Somebody shoved me, and I pitched forward, my shoes slipping on the dirty metal walkway of the bus. My head was reeling, my heart pounding in my chest. I didn’t like crowds, didn’t like not being free. Thankfully, my hand caught the plastic seat before I slammed into the floor, and I managed to pull myself upright and walk towards the back of the bus without any more mishaps. With the bus being so crowded, few of the black people were sitting, and all that were were in the last few roles, their faces tired. As I made my way towards them, a middle aged man automatically stood, wearily offered me his seat. I looked at him a moment, noticed the lines in his face and how his shoulders sagged, and my heart ached. The man was going to move for somebody that in all rights should be the one moving to offer him the seat. I was no more worthy of the seat then him, but the bus rules said I was. Simply because he was black, and I was white, and I hated that. Hated that people were so freaking stupid.
“You can keep the seat.” My voice sounded strange, lower than usual, and I swallowed thickly, cleared my throat. The man blinked at me in surprise, then simply shrugged and dropped into the seat. The bus went on with it’s route, unaware of the anger and sadness raging together in my head. I stood without noticing the people getting on and off, without noticing the bumps and the jostles of the rough road and of people in a hurry.
“Sir?” Somebody touched my shoulder, and I flinched at the unexpected contact. Blinking, I looked at the person talking to me, the same person that had tried to give me his seat.
“Yeah?” I swiped at my hair, tried to get my bearings back. Looking out the window I was relieved to see I hadn’t missed my stop, that it was still about two stops away. The bus had emptied out surprisingly fast, and everybody but me had found a seat.
“Just wanted to make sure you were okay. You’ve been staring into space for a while.” His face was tired, but I thought the lines on it were more from weariness than age, and his eyes were intelligent, set deep in his face and caramel brown.
“Yeah, thanks, I’m good.” He nodded, seemed to be studying me as much as I had him, and I sank into the nearest seat, let out a sigh. I was tired, the day had not been a good one, and I wasn’t going home like I wanted to. Instead I was on my way to my parent’s home, to visit awkwardly for about an hour. I really disliked these monthly visits, but it seemed weird to cut off my parents completely, even if we did have a mutual dislike thing going. But, after that, I could very simply plop down on my couch, close my eyes, and possibly summon up the energy to make myself something to eat.
“Sir?” Another light touch, this time on my forearm. I opened my eyes to acknowledge him. Suddenly, without a warning screech or honk, too fast for me to grasp what happened, we crashed. I heard yells and bangs, smelt melted rubber and fumes, didn’t see anything because I had the sense to close my eyes. Pain washed over my right side when I smashed into something hard and unmoving, and black swam in front of me. I tried to grab onto something, anything, but I flew back onto the ground as we screeched to a stop. The silence after that was oppressive, heavy, and then it was broken by groans and the sounds of people scrambling to stand and to gather themselves.
“Crap.” I moaned and pried open my eyes, tried to sit up but soon found out that that was a bad idea when the pain emitting all the way down my side threatened to send me into blackness. I groaned, clutched at my arm until the nausea and the spinning faded. Slowly, I managed to sit up, turned my head to try to see the rest of the damage. Most of the people I could see didn’t seem too badly injured, but one of them was obliviously dead, and a few others unconscious. The man I had spoken with was sitting in one of the few seats not sagging oddly to one side, a cut on his face but no other visible injuries. When his eyes landed on me he stood, picked his way through the glass and metal littering the floor over to where I sat crumpled against the wall.
“Are you okay?” He kneeled next to me, carefully ran his eyes over me.
“Kind of.” I struggled to see the rest of the bus, frustrated at my inability to move.
“Where are you hurt?” He moved so that I was looking at him, made me pay attention to only him instead of getting distracted.
“I think my arms broken, ribs hurt, hip hurts, leg seems fine.” I rattled off, not wanting to really acknowledge the fact that I was hurt. My breath caught in my throat when I shifted restlessly, and he put a hand out to still me. His eyes were concerned now, and though other people were moving around now, he was focused completely on me. “What’s your name?” I craned my neck to see around me again, preferring to see what was going on then to think about was most likely my broken arm.
“Matthew. Now, can you move your arm?” I spaced out then, eyes glazing and head tipping back. “Hey! Come on, don’t do that. Talk to me. What’s your name?” He tapped me on the cheek, looking relieved when my eyes focused on him.
“Silver. My name.” It was harder to breathe, and the pain was coming in waves, washing over me and making it hard to concentrate.
“That’s an unusual name. Nice though, very interesting.” I knew, somewhere in the back of my head, that he was trying to keep me talking, keep me awake, but I was tired and drifting.
“Mmhm.” I closed my eyes, but Matthew again tapped my cheek, didn’t stop till I blearily opened my eyes to glare at him. Sirens were getting closer, and Matthew noticed that with relief showing very plainly on his face.
“Come on kid, hang on. Silver…” I closed my eyes, let my head fall to my chest, and drifted away.