Just As The Day Before

by Christopher Abreu Rosario

She sits in the front of the bus, just as she always does; I sit in the front of the bus, just as I always do. Everyday, just like the day before, I watch her, timid and afraid, riding the bus out of necessity, her eyes stare at the floor the entire duration of her trip, which is about half of mine. We both board the number 13 bus at Taylor & Lindell, a spot, where I’ve noticed, people of non-color do not mind waiting for a bus. She always gets off right in front of the SLU medical campus on Grand Ave. I assume she’s a med student; at least she studies science or health of some kind. Who knows really? In all actuality she might be a receptionist or a mail room clerk, not that there is anything wrong with those professions…ehh…she’s a med student.

When we reach the Central West End Metro Station, many people board the bus, many people of color. As they board, I watch her body stiffen, her eyes scrolling back and forth, her breath getting heavy. The people make their way to the back of the bus, passing pale girl on the way. Everyday I watch her, expecting to see someone my own age die of a heart attack, but it never happens.

One day Larry boards the bus. I’ve never seen Larry before. He must be new to the neighborhood, or has recently gotten a new job because he’s never been on this route before. He is tall and large, not large in the fat sense, but large in his presence. He is a nice man, courteous towards everyone. Most of us have been riding the bus together for months now, yet none of us know each others names and we rarely speak to each other, except for the occasional rant on the bus’s tardiness or a comment on the random acts going on outside. Larry breaks the silence almost immediately. He greets the bus driver and a few of the elderly passengers in the front. An elderly woman extends her hand and asks him his name. He replies with much appreciation.

As Larry’s dark skin approaches, pale girl tightens. He greets her, she clutches her bag and the handrail as if bracing for an impact. I think to myself that the moment has finally come; she’s going to have a heart attack. Larry’s demeanor changes, his smile disappears, his animated hands drop to his side and he walks to the back of the bus.

Everyday, like the day before, Larry boards the bus, greets the driver and walks to the back of the bus. Pale girl looks at the floor wishing she wasn’t there.

On one particular day, a day unlike any other, the bus came early. I stood there on the corner seeing the bus reach the stop before me. Anger and fear filled my veins; I would not be late, not today. Right behind me was pale girl, anguish in her face seeing the bus out of reach. I looked both ways, a herd of cars coming from both directions. I looked at her, grabbed her hand and yelled “Come on!” as we darted across traffic. The horns blared, as if the cattle was mooing us off the path. I ran as fast as I could, I could not even feel pale girl’s weight behind me; it was as if she was gliding in the air, held on the earth only because I held her. We reached the bus as it was taking off. I smacked that bus, I smacked that bus like the bag dog that she was, and I didn’t stop. The bus finally stopped and the doors opened as my asthma ridding lungs could not take anymore.

I looked behind me; pale girl was standing there, looking as if she had stared death in the face. I completely forgot about her at this point, feeling as though I would have lost her along the way. I stepped to the side to allow her to board first.

She stepped up into the bus and searched her bag for her metro pass. She was having difficulty finding it and so the bus driver motioned for me to pay first. I swiped my card and pushed past to the back. Pale girl could not find her pass; the driver looked at her and pointed to the door which remained open.

The bus shifted as Larry, who surprisingly was on the bus before us (like I said a day unlike any other) walked forward. He dropped coins into the fare reader. Pale girl looked confused and proceeded to de-board. The driver closed the doors before she could get out and was motioned to sit down.

Pale girl sat in the front of the bus, just as she always does and I sat in the back of the bus, just as I always do; and Larry kept on being a nice man, just as he always was.

The End.
Just As The Day Before Just As The Day Before Reviewed by Christ贸pher Abreu Rosario on 15:37 Rating: 5

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