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More Lovely than Insanity

Chilly rain sizzled along the creaking bus door as the driver deftly punched a couple controls and stared through a film of weary impatience at the glimmer of headlights tracing bulging veins of glow in the foggy dark. A quiet cough hit his aging ears and his head turned, a few wisps of a long wooly crop breezing back from his fat button nose. Blinking several times, the driver shifted his voluminous weight in the sunken bus seat and his old blue eyes sharpened against the stranger standing in the rain. Achy florescent light tumbled out from the bulbs plugged into the dirty ceiling of the bus and explored the restless face of a young nun. Her motionless figure silhouetted against the dusky street lights seemed to the driver a trick of nature; she was so out of place. Black folds of an ankle-length dress were hemmed with greasy water and her shoes were austere and plain; several rebel strands of fine chocolate hair swept into her curvy mouth. The driver, every motion slowed with years of driving back and forth between two major cities, shoved his crusty baseball cap back and watched as the nun tested the metal steps ascending into the pools of cold interior light. Carefully she balanced a steamy cup of coffee on top of the second-hand suitcase by her feet and closed her wide umbrella, shaking it free of blistering rain before tucking it beneath her arm and retrieving the coffee and suitcase. She seemed to have flown directly from the pages of some sodden, discarded newspaper as she climbed gracefully into the bus, moving to the slouching seat behind the driver. Still blue eyes studied the passenger in the mirror, noticed the way brown hair was kissed by a sigh of air swishing between automatic doors as they closed. The bus rumbled beneath his faded jeans and the muted lights of the secluded bus stop slipped across the streaming windows. Keeping one eye on the cracked black road laid bare in the stare of the headlights, the driver’s voice finally croaked a curt welcome.
“Thank you,” the nun said, a permanently quieted smile deepening. The driver silently acknowledged the striking green of her eyes contesting with the swirling foliage on her eco-friendly Starbucks cup, now wedged between the jutting bone of her thin knees etched out through soggy folds of the puritanical garment. She turned her face onto the window, grieving eyes attempting to penetrate the mist prying at the weedy sidewalks, the fingers of a determined ghost. The driver was mildly surprised to hear himself address the young passenger. “Far from home?” He did not intend for it to be a question but his voice swelled with sympathy on the last syllable.
“I am auditioning tomorrow for a movie,” the nun said once the pause had worn itself out on flicking rain and sloppy tires roaring over asphalt. The driver peered back at the nun’s reflection: skin smooth as an apple; work worn fingers resting submissively on her black dress.
“I have cancer,” she said with a lift of her amused lips, noting how obvious the silence was demanding explanation. “If I have limited time to live, there will be no limits on how I live it. Our Heavenly Father may be glorified in many ways. He has planted His inspiration in my soul.”
The driver nodded because her sad green eyes were watching him in the mirror. He felt no need to say anything else and contented silence swarmed inside the brightly-lit bus as it trundled through the downpour.





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MollyDoubleU said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm
I LOVE your style of writing! It's very unique. I also love your descriptions too, they helped me picture everything perfectly. Bravo! The only thing I would advise to you would to fix your first couple of sentences. They could be seen as run-on sentences. But that is easily fixed. Very nice job!
 
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