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On the Bus This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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If this bus ka-thunks over one more bump in the road I swear I’ll scream. If it weren’t for this ka-thunking, I could just squeeze my eyes shut and pretend I’m not even moving. Wheels aren’t rolling. Bus isn’t going. I’m not even on a bus. I’m curled up by myself in my own little world where no one can reach me, where I don’t have to be … there, it ka-thunked again. Damn bus. This is ridiculous. Why am I scared? Why am I doing this? Why don’t I just stand up and scream at the bus driver, “Turn the bus around. Go back! I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to go, take me home!” ’Course, he wouldn’t listen to me. I could hijack this bus and send it back home, then get off and run home. I’d be safe at home in an hour.

It’s okay. It’s okay. I’ve planned this for weeks, I know what I’m doing, I’ve gone over all the details a gazillion times. All I can say is, that kid better be there when I get off this bus. If he isn’t, I’ll never believe anyone again. I thought I’d believe him to the end of the world. No, if he’s a liar I won’t even believe one word anyone ever says. I’ll just assume everyone’s lying. But how could he lie to me? We’ve been writing letters for how long now? A year? Is that all? And I don’t even know what he looks like or what he sounds like, for Pete’s sake, I haven’t a clue. I just have a box full of letters, a bus ticket, and all the brainless impulsiveness of a lovesick 16-year-old … wait, what’s that? I can’t be in love with the kid, I’ve never met him! What if he hates me? What if I’m nothing like my letters – or he’s nothing like his and I’ve been wrong all along this whole time.

I get a postcard that says, “Come visit me on the 10th” and I’m off on a bus at quarter of seven in the morning; where’s my reason? Logic? I used to be logical in math class, I was logical. Now I can’t even figure out if I have enough money for the ticket home … home … home is so far away. I’ve never been this far from home by myself and I’m so scared.

Oh, don’t cry. No, no, please God, don’t let me cry now, don’t reduce me to nothing but a helpless baby. He can’t see that I was crying. If he ever even sees me at all, if he even finds me. There must be 40 people on this bus, what if he walks up to that pretty girl in front of me, that gorgeous blonde, and says, “hi, it’s me?” What will I do? “Sorry, it’s me you’re looking for, my regrets.” And how will I know it’s him, anyway? Maybe it’s a big practical joke, a year-long practical joke, ha ha, and he’s the most incredible liar and I’m the most gullible fool who ever walked the face of this enormous, ENORMOUS planet … Can’t I stop these childish tears, for once? Oh, if this bus ka-thunks again I swear I’ll …

Is this it? That’s the station, right there. Yes, the bus is slowing down … we’re here. Omigod omigod omigod I’m here I’m here and somewhere in that station he’s waiting, he’s waiting for me and only m—omigod! My name? Big brown cardboard sign with my name on it, and IT’S IN HIS WRITING … here he is. That’s him. So this is how he’d know he’d find me. And I have to go up to him and say, “Hi, it’s me … it’s me, I’m here, I’m absolutely insane but I think I’m in love with you” … and I think I can do it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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