Weekly Writing Challenge: Three Ways to Go Gonzo
I’m at the back of the bus.
Everyday I’d sit. Sit at the back of the bus. I’d walk past all those kids, Marco, Sarah, Tony, even that kid who had an eye patch on all the time, nobody knew why. It didn’t matter to me but I moved past them. To the back. It was only ever me back here. The full stretch of the back seats all to myself, sounds good doesn’t it. It’s not. It’s lonely. Everyone making fun of you. Nobody wanting to speak to you. Lonely as hell. But it was my hell.
I was the quiet kid. That guy nobody wanted to speak to and nobody wanted to be friends with. That all changed when I saw you. You came on the bus that day with your smile, oh that happiness. You just filled the room with it. You had that little cassette player like it was still the 80’s when you bounced on the bus like someone from the brat pack. I liked it. I liked you. It was then. That moment. You walked down the aisle past all the other kids. Ignored them all even though there where seats free. You looked at me. I was too busy being bug eyed out the window by some crazy old guy dancing around but I eventually looked back at you. We smiled. I didn’t often smile. Family gatherings, celebrations but thats it.
Then. Then you spoke to me. “Is this seat taken?” I was dozed out in shock. My head was spinning. Nobody comes to the back of the bus? Nobody but Barry Collins sits at the back of the bus is what the other kids would tease me. You clicked. Kept clicking your fingers in front of my face. I snapped. Realised I’d drifted off. Pinch me. Am I dreaming? Someones at the back of the bus. Best call the bus police cause Barry Collins is the only one back there. I smile at you then move my books. You sit down and just stare. Why’s this pretty girl staring at me? Did I do something to her?
“Whats your name?” I remember you saying like some sweet melody. Your voice. Angelesc. “Barry Collins” Thats all I say, can say, will say. My tongues tied. I looked at my feet. Stuck to the ground by some kids 6 week old gum. Funny. You always look at your feet when in an awkward situation. “I’m new.” Theres the angels voice again. I finally turn, look you dead in the eye and open my mouth. Oh wait no words. Like I’m some broken robot which can’t speak. “You’re a funny one aren’t you.” I laugh, you laugh. I smile and the bus pulls to a stop. Everything turns in chaos. It’s world war III on the bus, everybody get off, every kid for themselves. You’ve gone now. I’m there alone on the bus, at the back as panic ensues, we’ve came to a halt everybody get off.
Next morning. Here you come. Blonde hair blowing on the bus. Wait there isn’t any wind on the bus? Oh that’s right I’m imagining that part. Wait. Whats this. Your coming to the back of the bus again? One day ok. Two days, whats going on? “It’s me again” I just look, smile, nod, the usual. “Do you have a name?” I’m looking at my feet again. I haven’t got words to use. “I’m going to call you shoes.” I just laugh. I get called a lot of names but not shoes. “It’s because you’re always staring at your shoes.” I laugh again. Whats going on? I look at you. Those bright blue eyes. “I like shoes.” What was that? Did I just speak? “Oh it can talk” you laugh, I laugh.
Three weeks. Amazing. Three weeks at the back of the bus. That Monday through Friday was a breeze. Every morning I had something to look forward to. That bus journey, at the back of the bus. We’d sit laughing, smiling the whole journey there. All the other kids would still make fun of Barry Collins at the back of the bus but it just went past me. I wish we could have been on the bus forever stuck in that moment.
Three weeks was that point. I got on. Went to the back. Smiled. It freaked the other kids out. “Look Barry Collins is smiling. What a loser.” “He’s a freak. His smile makes him look like a psychopath.” I ignored them. That was the point. You got on. Smiling and laughing as usual. Wait something’s not right. Something’s wrong with this picture. You’re with two girls. Betty Patternson who pushed me in the grass that one time and everyone laughed. Who’s the other? Oh thats right. Julie something. Italian heritage so her names weird. Never really spoke to her. Can’t understand what she’s saying. All the other boys like her though. Why’s she with them? I ignore it. Bus ride alone today. Maybe she just forgot but she’ll remember tomorrow.
Tomorrow. It happens again. You’re laughing while I’m way back here alone. It never bothered me before until you came along. The weeks pass by. Slowly and nothings changed. I’m still alone. Back here. It’s years later and we never spoke again. Now I’m still lonely and always remember that moment. The moment we met. That first time. You’d think I’d of grown up, made something of myself, changed my life. Heck you’d think. Nah. I’m still that little kid inside trapped on the back seats of that bus.