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Stranger on a Bus

by Jayson Rich 5 years ago in literature
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Girl & Guy Story

A Guy is on a bus, the same bus he rides at the same time to the same place from the same place while in the same seat just like he does every day. He's listening to music on his headphones while he hides from the world around him under the hood he pulls over his head every day, just enough to fake being asleep because it falls just short of his eyebrows. The Guy's hood head leans off to the side resting carelessly on the worn window of the public transportation bus, almost exactly below a terribly drawn heart that's been etched in by an elderly artist named Earl, but his friends called him Gus, with Parkinson's disease, dedication, and entirely too much time unsupervised on the bus for someone with his trend of mischievous behavior... or at least Guy likes to imagine that's how it got there. Guy imagines a lot, like how many others have stared through the window fantasizing about the impossible in the very same seat as him? Why the seat was so warm when he sat down? Especially during October, and what kind of person has butt heat like that? Was it a medical condition they should probably get looked into? Did they already know about it?

Anyways Guy usually started his daily bus ride with thoughts journeying through his entire life from the first time he ate soy sauce thinking it was syrup or trying to forget things that he thought he could never tell anyone like how his uncle just last week had convinced him salt was sugar, but his mind always lead him back to questioning why in the name of summer heat, fall chills, and soon the harsh winter cold, he took the 13 instead of the 11 bus. Particularly because it meant he'd have to walk 20 extra minutes and at least five more blocks to finally get home. His answer was never far though... all he had to do was shift his eyes maybe a degree or two to see it in front of him (well not directly in front more like a few rows up to the front of the bus where the backs of the seats were against the wall and facing inward towards each other and not forwards in rows).

A Girl was on a bus, the same bus she rode at the same time, to the same place from the same place, while in the same seat just like she did every day. Finally, the bus cruised past the intersection where McDonald's and Taco Bell had their never-ending stare down at each other, with their never-ending lines, of never satisfied customers, that would never know what they wanted until five minutes after they were asked at the counter. Guy tensed up as he realized it was time to pull the cord or maybe, he thought, he should let her pull the cord today, but the Girl was intensely reading a book he recognized and recalled loving, her brow furrowed and eyes darting left to right. So he pulled the cord, there was a sound meaning the bus would stop soon, the Girl looked up seeming dazed as though she had forgotten if reality was what her mind saw in the book or what her eyes saw in front of her. After a few forced blinks, she closes the book forgetting to mark where she left off and stands just as the bus pulls to a halt at the same stop she gets off every day and apart from several random passengers, Guy walks off the bus as well.

Today though, Guy's steps were hurried as he rushed from the unpleasant passenger that sat beside him, looking back at the bus instead of in front of where he is walking Guy narrows his eyes and begins to check all his pockets and sniff himself. He knew even if he found something missing it was probably too late and that the man who reeked of urine baths, and stared at Guy with enough silent anger and accusation that he started questioning if it was his fault, would be long gone with whatever it was. He sighed deep relieved that everything was still there and spun around bumping shoulders with the Girl who had stopped in her tracks to try and mark the spot she paused at while reading on the bus, which became nearly impossible as the book flew a few feet away.

Guys froze there as his thoughts span out of control speeding faster than the Camaro that jets down the street almost a black blur in broad daylight. He imagines reaching down casually and nonchalantly grabbing her book and telling her that he has that effect on people. Then he thought to himself was it effect or affect?? Then he wonders if she'd be able to tell the difference in spoken conversation??? What if she just calls him a jerk and snatches the book??? He's pulled out of his thoughts at the site of the Girl looking at him, her mouths moving he realizes, meaning he wasn't paying attention again, the books in her hand again… how long was he thinking to himself??? Guy zones in just in time to hear… nothing. Blinks as her lips continue but the sounds don't match until he rips out his headphones.

"—anyways sorry about that I guess I get really zoned in sometimes when I'm thinking, or reading, or writing. I didn't even know I had just stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk." A melody of a voice is saying to him.

Guy grins nervously rubbing the back of his head trying to think of what to say until he settles on, "I didn't know either."

The girl looks him up and down grinning right back before asking, "Did you zone out too???"

Guy nods furiously, "Mhmm mhmm. Sorry about that, if I hadn't I would have definitely not done that and I would have picked up the book for you."

With his apology, he hangs his head in an act of guilt. Girl chuckles slightly, shrugs and starts to walk to the corner with him trailing behind her. She nonchalantly breaks the silence.

She says, "Its fine. You always look like you're in the zone with your thoughts and stuff. It makes a person wonder what you could always be thinking about. Like you're there but not really there."

They stand together in muteness waiting for the light to change so they can cross. Girl looking again for the point she stopped so she could bookmark it. Guy went through recapping everything that just happened and as always now that it was over he was thinking of a million ways he could have sounded way cooler when it suddenly hits him harder than one of the passing cars could have.

SHE TALKED TO HIM AND HE TALKED TO HER, and her voice sounded much better than the high pitched version of his that he used in his imagination. At this, his eyes light up and grinned again stealing a glance at her turning back to watch the cars before Girl could catch him, and like a multicar accident, it hit him again. SHE HAD NOTICED HIM BEFORE TOO when she said always thinking. Guy finished replaying their convo and realized he never answered her last words. He decided he was probably late to answer her but would try anyway. Shoving his hands so deep in his pockets, his arms were practically fully extended, and unfortunately still looking ahead.

The Guy started talking. "I uh think about a lot of things. Stuff that happens I want to remember. Things I wish would happen. Why my uncle told me a jar of mayonnaise was pudding. Why I believed him."

Girl's eyes slowly drift up from her book, then her head follows, finally, she turns looking to confirm that just as she thought it was only the two of them standing there. Guy continues with a distant stare, you'd think he was fighting a lifelong battle with stage fright while he addressed the entire world on how global warming was related to fried chicken.

"And well never mind you don't want to hear about my stupid thoughts." With the last part Guy focuses down on his shoes and pretends to kick a rock.

Girl pokes him, "Well you don't know that for sure, now do you??? Besides, why do you think I read books if not JUST to hear other people's thoughts???"

The guy is dumbfounded and just stares back at this Girl that has left him speechless twice in under five minutes, as the traffic poll beeps letting those nearby know it was time to cross. So they do walking side by side in such unison it was as though they had walked together for hours on end.

"So…" The Girl says smiling shyly at Guy bumping her shoulder into him playfully causing him to look back with eyes that screamed confusion. "Are you going to tell me about what goes on up there, or will this be the umpteenth time we walk quietly after an entire lifetime of not talking???"

Guy blinks with genuine astonishment, he never wanted this to end so he answered with, "I think about how people might have a fundamental misunderstanding of simple things. Like the concept of impossible…because I've seen it."

He stops to sigh and let a forced breath out his nose in a gesture like a half laugh, "You, uh, wouldn't believe me anyways though."

The girl now hooked teases Guy, "Is that right???" she asks while raising her eyebrows.

"It's so right," Guy says raising a hand with his index finger up to emphasize his point, "That I'll tell you right now and you'll tell me… that it's impossible."

He goes quiet letting the anticipation build while taking exaggeratedly slow 10 steps or so and just as Girl opens her mouth he interrupts, stopping her voice before it ever leaves her mouth.

"I saw an angel once and no one else did." He can tell that she's stumped and watches her blink then quickly adds, "Well they saw it… but only I knew it was an angel."

Girl gets her wits about her and says, "Oh yea???"

Guy nods again this time with such confidence and false wisdom that only a Grandfather could have after he's just told his grandchild something like Bigfoot once saved his life.

"And how sir, did YOU know it was an angel when no one else did???"

"Oh uh," Guy stumbles while trying to gather his thoughts.

"It was easy actually. She was an angel because she had a face like a sunset and lips like the ocean. She was an angel because her smile wasn't a singular thing it was like the calm after a tsunami because it washed me away every time and her laugh was as contagious as nitrous oxide. No. No. No. As contagious life itself all around us, everything a part of it like it or not. She was an angel because she had eyes so pure like marbles of liquid moonlight on a clear night with the bright sparkling intensity of bottled lightning and a voice sweeter than the smell of cement after rainfall or cinnamon covered fried dough." Girl takes a moment to let all Guy had said sink in, not realizing she was no longer looking forward but gazing at him with a look of pure amazement.

The guy wasn't accustomed to it and the silence made him uneasy to the point where he grinned sheepishly and went, "What??? Did I go too far, talk too much, I sounded stupid didn't I???"

Girl blinks rapidly while looking around before she says, "No it just sounded a lot like you weren't talking about, well love... but not the way everyone else talks about it. I mean you talked about it like it was a lifelong love."

Guy perks in, "Maybe it's a love that's lasted lifetimes long???"

Girl scoffs retorting, "There is no such thing as that wonder boy."

Guy challenges her with, "And why exactly isn't there such a thing??? If there are metal boxes that can travel on plastic circles why can't there be something as simple as emotions and bonds that strong???"

The girl is caught off guard, her eyes frantically jumping around like the words themselves were hiding in plain sight or walking on the other side of the street.

"Because no one would even know how to describe a love like that." He bites his lip and thinks hard for a moment giving Girl the impression that she had finally asked him something he couldn't answer.

Then he did answer, "But I do know how to describe a love like that... it's simple."

"Then do tell." Girl lead him on.

"A love like that means that just being with that special someone makes even the smallest of things more magical than watching the sunset from the highest mountain or tallest skyscraper and holding them makes your heartbeat like jumping off that very same spot. A love like that means that every second with them can expand into an everlasting experience, something not that you try to remember but can never forget because of how they change you. A love like that means you just crave that someone's presence to the point of missing the very essence of their being not just physically, but mentally. Not just mentally, but emotionally. Not just emotionally but spiritually. Not just spiritually but literally." Girl sucks her teeth and rolls her eyes, walking on.

Guy asks, "Why that kind of reaction???"

She says unphased, "Most people wouldn't even know what to do with someone like that. People aren't people anymore." Guy jokingly follows her up with,

"That's strange... I eat. Do you eat??? I sleep. Do you sleep??? I breathe. Do you breathe??? Or oh my god," He gasps louder than needed as he pokes Girl in the arm,

"You ever travel out of the state??? Country??? Solar system??? No biggie crash land in Antarctica and maybe I don't know eat and imitate a bunch of scientists that came across your ship." The girl brushes off his finger rolling her eyes.

"Yes, I eat, sleep, and breathe. And no I can't say I've ever met Kurt Russell or Keith Davis. So I guess we are genuine people."

Guy relishes in proving his point but continues, "Well if we're real and if we can do all those things required to live, then why can't we love …because without that you aren't exactly living either. Ya know??? That whole live, love, laugh thing."

She recognizes another defeat but doesn't let it show instead says, "Ya know. I don't like talking to you already and this is just our first conversation. You kinda make my face hurt."

Guy frowns and touches his face making Girl question, "Just what are you doing??? I can't have you being odd and ruining my street credit."

Guy says, while touching his fingertips to his chest and tilting his head mockingly, "I think that is without a doubt the most indirect and unnecessary way I have ever been called ugly. I'll have you know I have been meaning to start working on it in my free time."

The girl burst out laughing this time explaining, "What I meant, naive one, was you make me smile way too much. But anyways are you really that confident in all that stuff you said earlier???"

The guy walks with his chest out, "I am."

Girl makes a face to emphasize as she says, "So what uhh exactly do you think that like people who had those feelings would be to each other???"

Guy says "I can't really speak for like everybody but to me, they would be the very thing I live for, they would be, for lack of better terms, my heart. My heart who my passion for burns fierce enough that the inferno tempest of a blazing ball that has forever lit the skies known as the sun is like, a forest fire burning next to a birthday candle. But I'd still care for her like a mother bear does it—" Guy goes quiet making Girl stop and notice Guy is several steps behind with his head tilted inquisitively.

"Do you uh have any cubs??? I meant kids???" a single eyebrow raised.

Girl rolls her eyes again, "You are ridiculous!!! No, I don't have any kids." Guy jokingly wipes sweat from above his eyes and opens his mouth to continue.

The girl follows up with, "I've never been a fan of goats. Their eyes scare me and they poop ENTIRELY too much not to mention the screaming ones... my child loves them though I can't figure out why for the life of me!!!"

Guy stops dead in his tracks again and Girl soon after. His jaw drops open while his face goes blank and she can see the gears grinding as he enters serious thought. Girl chuckles and shrugs her shoulders making him squint slightly as he catches on. Then she starts to walk again with him close to her picking up where he left off.

"They would be my other who's intelligent and witty like a sitcom TV show genius that solves crimes with a perfect photographic memory—"

"I think you mean eidetic memory," she offers in the correction without looking back.

"What's a detic memory??? It sounds pretty interesting. Should I get one??? Do you wanna make a 'detic' memory??? We could make a thousand 'detic' memories!!!" Guy fires at her one after the other.

While Girl smirks eagerly her eyes glinting beautifully in the golden sunset light when she leads him by biting her lip and dismissively asking almost whispering.

"Oh really??? You'd do that for me??? Make 'detic' memories??? Between only us??? For just us??? Would they be special???" Guy's eyes shine back at hers.

His entire soul showing through as he nods furiously more and more with each chance he gets to say yes to her until they're both mirroring the other smiling ear to ear inches from each other, absorbed in the moment and each other. Suddenly Girl sucks her teeth and shakes her head, confusing Guy enough furrow his brow but not to snap him out of the moment at all. He stays lost in her.

Girl makes a whiny voice to say, "There's one stupid HUGE problem!!!"

Almost as if hypnotized Guy responds, "And what's that???"

Girl drops her smile to the asphalt instantly poker-faced staring back at Guy she says flatly, "There isn't any such thing as a 'detic' memory. It's an eidetic memory. Okayyyyy???"

She raises her hands holding the sides of Guy's face moving his head in sync with hers so they were now nodding yes to each other as Girl explains more "E-I-D-E-T-C memory. As in someone that can remember and make a sorta mental image or snapshot of an event or photo in their mind but they can include senses into like smell, taste, touch or sound. Basically, anything that stimulates them associated with the image."

The girl slowly lets go of Guy's face but he continues to nod on his own while listening. She playfully slaps his shoulder with an open palm, "Stop that. And yea photographic memory is just being able to recall lots of words or numbers or something similar in almost perfect detail."

Guy blinks a few times then confidently says, "I knew that just like I know that… this," he nudges his head in the direction they were walking, "is where we kinda go different ways."

The girl looks up to see that Guy is right, "Well I guess I should save you the time and tell you that if you MUST know, I am seeing someone. He and I had an undeniable connection from the moment we first laid eyes one another."

He looks away making an obvious effort to avoid eye contact and slumps his shoulders sighing, "Yea???"

The girl steps up directly in front of him denying him the chance to look at anything but her, "Yea is right Mr." she tells him.

Guy steps back, "Well if he's anything like you...he's amazing." He says dishearteningly.

The girl steps forward again almost slamming into Guy eagerly correcting him, "He's even better because he makes me feel more magnificent, incredible, and just all out unbelievably phenomenal than anything I've ever even read about. And I have read A LOT."

Guy forces a smirk as he tries to disengage stepping back one last time as she continues, "You haven't even asked me how I met him."

Guy barely gets the chance to consider telling her he would rather not know when for the third time she closes the distance between them staring at him with eyes so big he was sure he'd have to change the term from puppy eyes to her eyes. Guy blinks hard pretending to seem irritated but smirks.

He finally asks. "Where did you meet h-"

Bouncing with excitement Girl cuts his question short,

"He was just a stranger on a bus…"


About the author

Jayson Rich

People have always loved to read what I write, and I've always loved to write what people want to read. From research to romance...

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