The boy on the bus

September 21, 2010
That day had been exceptionally normal for me. I had gone through all of my usual routines: Wake up promptly at 6:35, grab a breakfast sandwich on my way to class, and dance until 6:30 in the evening which is when I would ride the bus back to my home. That day, something happened; something out of the ordinary.
I took longer than usual as I packed up my bag, carefully folding my tights and leotard, neatly bending the ribbons on my Pointe shoes before placing everything in my dance bag. Roze waited impatiently by the door. She tapped her foot and sighed every few minutes in an unsubtle attempt to make me hurry up. I ignored her as I zipped up my bag and stood to my feet. “Okay,” I told her, “I’m ready to go home.” Roze scowled. “About time, we already missed our normal bus home and we’re going to have to hurry just to make the last bus!” Her voice was rasping and I could tell she had been smoking again. It was part of her new diet to lose 10 pounds off her already willowy frame. I turned off the dressing room light and we both walked out into the night. Roze started going off about the new girl in our class, Heather. She complained about how Heather had taken up the front of the class and monopolized the teacher’s attention. I barely listened; the words were always the same coming from Roze, the only thing that was different was the name of the person she was complaining about. I glanced at my watch and frowned. “Roze, when was the last bus scheduled to go home?” She glared at me for interrupting her tirade before she pulled out her bus pamphlet. “It says that the last bus back home is at 7:45, why?” I picked up my pace and Roze hurried to keep up with me. “It’s 7:40 right now. We’ve only got 5 minutes to make the bus.” Roze swore, and then she glanced at me sheepishly. I pretended that I hadn’t heard what she had uttered. Ever since I had started attending church, I had given up all the things that made up Roze’s life: cigarettes, swearing, puking after eating. Roze, even though she didn’t understand what change was happening in me, still tried to respect me by not doing any of those things around me. She wouldn’t take it as far as giving them up completely, though I had tried to convince her to come to church. She was convinced that she didn’t need that. We broke out into a full run as we reached the last block. The bus was still sitting at the corner and I hurried up the steps. I found an empty seat for us near the front and sat down. Roze was still climbing up into the bus when somebody slipped into the last empty seat beside me. He was young, a couple of years younger than me with dark chocolate skin. I smiled at him but he averted his eyes and slumped down in his seat. Roze huffed up to the seat, clearly irritated. “Excuse me; I think you’re in my seat.” The boy glanced up. “What?” Roze’s eyes flashed, “That’s my seat. Get out of my seat.” I cleared my throat and scowled at Roze. She glanced at me then grudgingly rephrased, “Please get out of my seat.” By now, we had the attention of everybody on the bus and some were watching anxiously to see what we would do. I rose from my seat and scooted out. “Just take my seat, Roze.” I murmured. “No!” she yelled, “We had these seats first, they’re ours.” The bus driver stood up from his seat and made his way to where Roze, the boy, and I were standing. “Listen, buddy,” He spoke to the boy, “I believe these young ladies had those seats first so why don’t you just take the next bus?” The driver seemed unaware that his was the last bus South. Roze pushed past us and sat down in her seat, not even offering thanks to the driver or an apology to the boy. I laid my hand on the boy’s arm. “Go ahead and take my seat,” I offered. “Just sit down, Marley; I will not sit next to that boy.” Roze stated calmly from her seat. The boy shook off my arm and turned away, but not before I saw tears glistening in his brown eyes. He exited the bus and I saw him take off across town. Dejected, I sat down beside Roze. I refused to talk to her the whole way home though she didn’t have any problem with my silence. She picked up her string of complaints where she had left off on the street and kept it up until we exited the bus. We were walking up the stairs of our apartment complex when she finally spoke. “I don’t know what your problem is, Marley, the boy could just get on another bus home. No big deal.” I spun on her. “No big deal? That boy did not deserve the treatment we gave him, Roze! That was outright rude and he did not deserve it at all.” I quickly unlocked the door and rushed to my bedroom, slamming the door behind me. I heard Roze come into the room a couple of hours later, but I feigned sleep and she just climbed silently into bed. The next morning, I woke before Roze and tiptoed out into the living room. I turned on the TV to the daily news like I did every Saturday morning. I grabbed a banana and peanut butter and settled down. “-the bus was on its way south when an animal darted out into the road. The driver swerved to avoid it and that’s when the bus tipped over.” I sat up straight and turned the volume up. “Fortunately, there was only one casualty, a young man named, Robert James. He is in critical condition at the moment.” A picture popped up on the screen and I gasped. Staring back were those brown eyes from last night. The boy on the television screen was the very boy from the bus last night. I started trembling and sank down to my knees. I prayed that God would heal the boy. I ran into my room and quickly got dressed. I tore from the apartment, not even bothering to leave a note for Roze. When I got to the hospital, the parking lot was already filled with news team vans and camera crews. I navigated my way through the crowd and into the hospital. “Excuse me,” I asked a nurse, “how is the boy, Robert James?” she studied me. “I’m afraid I can’t release that information unless you’re a relative of the patient.” I begged, “Please, is he alive?” The nurse just shook her head. “I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t help you.” I walked away in frustration and made my way to the information desk. I made the same inquiry to no avail. None of the nurses would release information about Robert James. I found a seat in the corner and slumped down into it. I prayed. Somebody tapped my shoulder and I started awake. Roze stood before me, concern written on her face. “I got your text,” she said. I vaguely remembered sending her a text before I made it to the hospital. Roze sat down next to me and hugged her arms close. “I can’t believe what happened to that boy.” She murmured. I nodded, too tired to speak. Roze went on, “I can’t believe how selfish I was to make him get off the bus. If I had just given up my seat he wouldn’t be in the hospital.” Her voice cracked on the last word and she started sobbing. I patted her leg and wiped my own tears from my eyes. We stayed like that for a long time, crying and praying at the same time. It felt odd to be at the hospital for somebody we knew nothing about but at the same time it felt right. We certainly owed this boy our time and prayers. After a couple of hours, a nurse approached us. “This isn’t public information yet, but you’ll be happy to know that Mr. James is stable and is now recovering with minor injuries.” She smiled. Roze and I hugged each other tight and I threw up a quick prayer of thanks heavenward.

Join the Discussion

This article has 12 comments. Post your own now!

IWriteBecauseItsFun said...
Nov. 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm
I am in LOVE with this!!! 
living4God replied...
Jan. 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm
Thanks so much for reading! i'm glad you like it (:
CallMeFelix said...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm

"stood to my feet" is unnecessary...standing is getting to your feet =) and in "“Fortunately, there was only one casualty, a young man named, Robert James. He is in critical condition at the moment.” A picture popped up on the screen and I gasped. Staring back were those brown eyes from last night. The boy on the television screen was the very boy from the bus last night." you state he was a casualty and that he was in critical condition...casualties are deaths, so try picking a d... (more »)

living4God said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 11:12 am
Thanks for the criticism you guys, feel free to give me more, i know i really need to improve my writing :)
Whylime said...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 4:56 pm
indent! indent! indent! i say no more.
AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 8:09 pm

The Good:  This story has a great theme, and I really liked it!  It shows how the little things we do can have big consequences.  Great job!

The Bad:  This needs a lot of work, but none of it will be hard to do, so don't worry. :)  You just need to develop the characters and the plot a little more.  Who are Roze and Marley?  What is their situation?  How old are they?  Why did Roze refuse to sit next to the boy?  The ending was als... (more »)

living4God replied...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 11:07 am
Thanks for the critiques! i really like criticism so i can work on my writing. hmm, i've never heard of that story but i will have to check it out!
gracegirl29 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm
Good job! I love the theme and it was presented in a great way. You have a lot of potential as a writer. Paragraphs would have been nice, but i understand that sometimes the website messes up the spacing. There were a few messy spots, like one part where "bus" was repeated one time too many, but nothing that you need to worry about. I can't wait to read more of your work!
living4God replied...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 11:08 am
Thanks so much! i never thought about paragraphs(i know that was stupid) so now i know thanks
hancampbell said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm
Nice! I got chills when the nurse told the girls that he was fine(: Like AgnotTheOdd said, I think it would've been easier to follow if in paragraph form, especially the dialog. Sometimes it was hard to tell who was saying what. But otherwise, great job! (:
AgnotTheOdd said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Paragraphs would have been nice.  I have some subjective comments, but looking at this objectively, it was good.  Interesting plot, good vocabulary, all that jazz



Itwasamurder... said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Interesting, the plot is really intruiging, not a lot of stories center off of buses but you made it very good. I enjoyed reading this, welcome to Teenink, I look forward to reading more of your stuff.


J7X team

Site Feedback