The Bus

Brian Russell

I remember it being cold. Not because of the air or the silent stillness when it snowed; the frost on the window ebbed and flowed with my breath, I made spots appear then disappear, barely giving me enough time to drag my finger across them and leave a mark. I remember it being cold because of my hat on my head and my untrimmed hair being bogged down by it into my eyes. The seat had no cushioning, so it measured an amount of plastic coolness against my back and legs. All of these were parts of my whole experience and I, being subjected to a psychological barrage of despondence, didn’t recognize any of them. I had put on my winter socks and boots. I squeezed my heel down into the back of the shoes as I always had. I walked to the second bus because I had slept through the alarm that would have let me take the first one’s stop. I crouched my hands into the pockets of my peacoat. My hair fell over my eyes. Yet I didn’t realize it was cold, despite all the signs. I wasn’t there — I rubbed my hands together. I made certain to kick off the snow from my shoes before I got into the bus. I sat in the farthest back corner — I wasn’t there — and neither was anyone else. The bus had been empty save for the driver.

The interior was lit blue. The lightbulbs must have been switched out in favor of a calming ambiance. The seats were blue. The accents of its design yellow. And I passed by the conscious awareness of some of the university’s most brilliant sights.

A mother walking her stroller and showing her baby the snowflakes.

A couple walking down the sidewalk, moving their arms as they talked.

I saw a dog, my eyes followed it and its owner as they slowly went out of the window’s frame and behind the frost.

And I felt wet on my cheek. I hadn’t been leaning it against the bus window. I hadn’t even frowned.

— I wasn’t really there.

I could hear running water, I could hear the sounds of my old roommates singing to me playing guitar.

The bus’s pipes let loose a flute pitch sound and the doors swung open. I didn’t get up. The bus closed its doors and kept on going, forever in the loop until the driver got off work. He didn’t seem to care that I didn’t get off at its only stop. Nobody got on the bus. It wasn’t his job.

I didn’t care either. Writing Club could do without me, there wasn’t much point in going anyways.

I remember, the bus route brought us around to the front of the university where one could see the mountains had it not been nighttime. I hiked up to their summit once. With all those people… We drove past the buildings where I drank liquor. We drove past the place where I got my oil spill of coffee every morning.

Right back to my home. I remembered the dogs, my mother’s face. And the door swung open.

I walked out and back into my apartment. I took my shoes off, rubbed the blisters from their scrunched heels. I slept in the jacket - I slept in my tears.

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