First Ride on the City Bus

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A dark, desolate bus stop
A biting wind
A shivering, nervous wait

The squeal of brakes
A wet, slushy splash
A stink of diesel

Icy steps
An awkward, stumbling question
A flash of a shiny new bus pass

A kind smile
and a reassuring nod
The driver understands

A seat in front
just behind the driver
One hand clammy on the metal bar
The other tight around a cell phone

A startled jump
As the bus lurches forward

Nervous glances at
Passengers' reflections
A girl with bad acne
popping bubble gum
A gender-ambiguous pair of eyes
between a baseball cap and a pulled-up hood
A man in a green windbreaker
Falling asleep as he reads and listens to music

A girl with earbuds and a mysterious smile
Staring at the windshield
Me

Wide eyes at the sparkling city lights
Floating like constellations in the darkness

A city suddenly alive
Pulsing, throbbing away through the night

Silence thick enough to suffocate
A creeping alarm at each bus stop
Wondering if this is it

Eyes glued to the window
Determined not to miss it

A quick smile and thumbs-up from the driver
A vague smile in response

A world passing in and out of dream state
Another world passing by

A loud street announcement over the speakers
A panicked yank on the cord
A squeaky, laborious stop at the side of the road

A stretch
A yawn
A shifting of the backpack's weight

A last reassuring smile
Three steep steps

A wet, slushy splash
A biting wind
A stink of diesel

A world no longer etched in dreams

Another bus stop





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