Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

the bus ride home

the bus driver, slouched in his seat, did not seem to notice those two volkswagons that had to swerve hard right to escape with their fenders intact.

the bus driver drove right past a stop, despite the big, red sign saying "wegen halt" that lights up when people want to get off the bus.

they jumped and shouted, "hey! "hallo! halt, halt!"

the bus driver came to a screaching halt in the middle of the road. a car zipped around us, honking, furiously at the bus driver that slammed his brakes in the middle of the road.

the people got off the bus, mystified about what had happened. this is germany, after all, where the buses run on time, and the bus drivers are respected for their work, and respectful of others.

the bus driver didn't apologize. he closed the doors, and started driving again. he had his stoic slouch, and his furrowed eyebrows.

he zipped past somebody's stop again. everyone shouted at him, "hey! hallo! halten sie, bitte!" he comes to another screeching halt. he let them off the bus.

i was still sitting, waiting for my stop.

the bus driver started driving again. then, he just stopped. he wasn't at a bus stop. he wasn't where he was supposed to be. he just stopped in the middle of the road. he turned off the lights in the cabin. he opened the doors. he told us all to get off because the bus was closed.

people shouted at him. the bus driver just ignored them. he told them all to get off. he was quitting, and wasn't going to drive anyone else anywhere else.

we got off the bus. we looked at each other. we kind of, collectively, shrugged. we walked away, each in our own directions.

the whole time, i had ash on my forehead from ash wednesday. i was coming out of mass. i walked through the rain to my sister's apartment. the ash ran down my face. i wiped it off. now it's all over my face, and all over the sleeve of my jacket. and i feel blessed, because the crazy bus driver didn't pull out a gun and go postal on us, and he didn't hit those cars.

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