At the Bus Stop
Alyssa Carlier

 

ONE.

We meet at the bus station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, without fail. We sit side by side on the covered benches, heat and dust buffeting our faces after each bus passes.

He always speaks first. “How was yesterday?”

“Fine. Nothing special.”

He nods. I touch his wrist with a pinkie, and he takes my hand immediately. The buses fill the silence, whistling to a stop and then off again. He adjusts his collar and licks his lips. He’s always so confused, as if life is a mystery he cannot unravel.

I love him for the birdcages barring the world from his eyes.

After an hour, he stands up and, with a silent nod, steps in. The bus leaves me behind in a rush of heat and dust.

 

TWO.

He meets me without fail at the bus station every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. He sits next to me on the covered benches. Heat and dust buffet our faces after each bus passes.

I always speak first. “My parents think I’m visiting Jenny. She’s sick, but …”

As I recount my day, the buses whistle to a stop and then off again. He pays little attention to either and keeps adjusting his collar and licking his lips. He’s always so confused, as if life is a mystery he cannot unravel.

I love him for the birdcages barring the world from his eyes.

After an hour, a bus swishes open its doors and he stands up. I peck him on the cheek and slip a pink envelope in his pocket before letting him go. The bus leaves me behind in a rush of heat and dust.

 

ONE.

One time, I arrive first and wait alone on the benches, heat and dust buffeting my face.

When he shows up, he sits next to me and takes my hand. I flinch at the atypically forward gesture. His eyes search my face and he drops my hand.

“It’s Tuesday,” he says.

“I know.”

He does not explain further, and we spend the hour listening to the buses’ grating wheels and hissing exhaust pipes. When the bus arrives, he hands me a pink envelope and, with a silent nod, steps into the bus. Biting my lip, I open the love letter I never wrote.

The handwriting is mine. The words are not.

I lift my head as the bus whistles off. It is empty but for the driver.

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Alyssa Carlier is a high school student in Hong Kong. She doesn’t have a day job, but at night she breathes ink and paper and Kindle. In between bouts of writing, she dabbles with laboratory bacteria and blogs at randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com