18 January 2013

a bus, maybe

At 10:22PM I sighed into the backrest of my seat for the commute home. The heaters rumbled softly behind me, and I take off my scarf. As I was folding it onto my lap, someone collapsed into the seat across mine. I looked up out of curiosity, and I found a boy looking back at me. Out of embarrassment and shyness, I quickly looked down.

The whole ride I stole a few glances, and I tried to hide tiny smiles that threatened to tug at the corners of my mouth – but moreso because I could see, from the corner of my eyes, him staring back at me for most of the ride as well. A night or so ago I joked to myself that this song would play in my head if something like the above quote were to ever happen (assuming it wouldn’t), and as fate would happen, it was blasting through my earphones. Like two rivers converging, my heart warmed and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself, knowing how much I romanticize situations and encounters. But most of all, I laughed at myself from the incessant ache that has taken residence in my heart. Knowing, full well, that strangers can interact in a tiny bus world, an arm’s length away – and still be miles apart from each other. A relationship that expires just beyond the retracting glass doors. It’s likely I’ll never see him again, and it’s just as unlikely anything would’ve made either of us reach out and strike up a conversation at 10:22PM on a chilly bus full of strangers. Stolen glances, eyes connecting briefly and locked for a second just long enough to know, followed quickly by a shy averting of our eyes. Our interaction that we shared for those thirty minutes. The empty space between us, the air that mingled around the white headphones that snaked our black peacoats – the want of saying hello, the tug and ache and twist of wanting to see, just maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe. His expression that held back, deliberating, then looking away but only a few inches, out behind me into the foggy night.

And then the bus comes to a halt. And I get up. And I’m too shy to take one last look at him. And I get off the bus. I don’t look back. But I carried that feeling all the way home. Of ifs, and maybes, and aches and tugs and a stifled, suppressed hello. Because who am I, really. What am I doing, really. What am I thinking, feeling, wanting. I wondered. And with a faint, futile drop of hope, I wonder if just maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe.

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