To See You Again
The bus crawls across the city. I'm just one of many passengers. The woman sitting in front of me must not ride often; her neck tenses up at each stop and she clutches the seat when the driver applies the brakes. I remember when the shriek that accompanied each stop sounded as loud as gunfire to me, but now the sound is so familiar I hardly register it anymore.
Rain is streaking the windows and rendering my view a gray blur with occasional blobs of colour that appear and disappear like headlights in fog. The bus has stopped again and a woman in a bright red coat is ushering her children on. They sit near me and I can smell the chemical odor of the little girl's clear plastic raincoat. It's patterned with little penguins and it reminds me of you although I can't pinpoint exactly why.
'Why don't you just buy a car and drive over here?' you're fond of asking me when I visit.
I never have an answer that satisfies you. There's just something about the ritual of flashing my metro card to the driver and finding a seat among the multitudes. It's individuality and anonymity coexisting. Then, there's the liberating feeling of sitting back and letting someone else control where I'm going. Yet another contradiction, but one that makes perfect sense to me. After years of worrying about everyone, I can relax and not even worry about myself.
"Hey, Mister. Have you been on TV?" The little girl in the raincoat is waving at me.
"No," I reply with a shake of my head. I don't have your policy on lying.
"Oh." She slumps back in her seat. Her mother is looking at me apologetically.
The family gets off five stops down. There are only two more and a short walk before I get to your place. Everything is slow, the bus, the rain, my pulse.
Not for the first time, I fail to be entirely content. I'm perched on the edge of my seat, hand drifting towards the cord to request the stop.
It took me a few weeks to understand why.
I hide a smile and jerk the hood of my jacket up over my head. The bus lurches to a halt and I swing out of my seat.
I think I'll run the rest of the way. If you ask why I'm out of breath, I'll claim it was because of the rain. But if you ask why I've shown up on your doorstep on this dreary Monday, I'll tell the truth: I just wanted to see you again.