BUS STOP

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I am waiting. I’m waiting for the bus, at the shelter near the corner where the streets cross. The lights change, the cars stop. Lights change, cars stop, over and over. Passengers stare and I stare back. We size each other up. 

The bus is late, but I have to keep waiting, and it’s cold and it’s damp. All the time, more cars. A stream of different colours, but they look the same. They might as well all be grey. Where is everybody going? And why is nobody else waiting for the bus?

Just now, someone else arrived at the stop. He stood behind me. I sensed him checking me out, and my scalp began to creep. I turned around, and he turned away. 

His jeans: tighter than mine, and grey like the cars, but good grey. Skintight.

I want to hear his voice. If he looks at me again, I’ll smile. He might smile back. A smile gets a smile, right? So, let’s go forward a little: perhaps we smile, and then we laugh at the silliness of our unease, and we begin a halting conversation. A meaningless chatter, but important because it could be a genesis. Wild imaginings, perhaps. But why not dream at the bus stop, while I’m waiting in the cold?

But he doesn’t look at me. He gets a blush on his neck. He moves away, checks the timetable, checks his watch. Glances up the road for the bus. Then he walks away in urgent strides. He doesn’t look back.

I should have talked to him. I could run now, and chase him. No, not chase him, but catch up to him. Just to break the ice. I like your jeans. I just wanted to tell you. Or even: You look good in your jeans. I wonder if that’s something I could say. People like a compliment, don’t they?

He’s disappearing. If I run after him, the bus might arrive, and then I’ll miss it. I’d miss it because it won’t wait for me. And I mustn’t miss it. I’ve waited long enough. So that’s that. The boy’s gone, and I’ll never know what could have been. He’ll never know. We’ll never know. Opportunities are passing by lately, like the cars on the road.

There’s still no sign of the bus. The car passengers look so passive, like cows being herded-off against their will. But they’re not prisoners. They could open their doors while they’re stopped at the lights. Open their doors, and wait for the bus with me. Together we could stand and laugh at the cars. Stand and point and laugh at the drivers, alone and ridiculous in their huge grey cars.

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4 thoughts on “BUS STOP

  1. jenniferbryce

    I like this Barry – beautiful description – the man’s ‘urgent strides’ – just the right words – the monotony of the traffic – just like hearses cows – thanks!

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