Sunday, December 20, 2009

Girl at the Bus Stop

He walked slowly to the bus stop and sat down on the bench. The sultry summer heat felt like a thick warm blanket wrapped around him. There was no relief anywhere he looked. The shaved ice he just had while visiting his friend had already turned into sweat, and it was eager to escape from his every pore.

Several young girls gathered at the far end of the bench. Their whispers and giggles told him they were talking about him. It was a reaction he had to get used to, along with double takes and pointing. He was, after all, an outsider to them. The tropical island thousands of miles away from home enticed him from the booklet with beautiful pictures, and convinced him to "study abroad." It was a difficult language to master, but he studied hard in the crash course before departure. They would be in shock if they knew he could manage some basic phrases. The thought of it brought a smile to his face.

He turned to see if the bus was in sight, and he saw her.

She had long straight hair, and a clear face with no makeup. Her youthful features would be soiled by the manmade mask. The arched eyebrows asserted to be lively and challenging. Her small lips rested under a cute nose which perked with curiosity. Her dark eyes held behind a mysterious veil he could not describe. A glance from her seemed to see through his emotions, and ask for more. He had to remind himself to breathe. Her skin was perfect, as if life's worries hadn't found their ways to her yet. Her slender body was wrapped in short-sleeve shirt and a simple short black skirt. Her freshness glowed unintentionally. He hadn't seen the like until now, and a cord somewhere in him was plucked.

She came to him, or rather, to the bus stop, and sat down on the bench, maintaining a safe space between them. He moved his body when she turned to inquire the absent bus, trying to get her attention. Her eyes swept over him for a second, but they did not linger. He was a handsome young man by the standards of where he came from, and girls always paid attention to him. This was frustrating, but he was not to be discouraged.

She sensed his gaze, and hid her eyes under her long eyelashes. She hugged her books closer to her body slightly, as if they could protect her from his relentless eyes. His hair reminded her of the cinnamon bars in her mother's kitchen cabinets. His eyes looked at her, but the transparent irises strangely lacked focus, or a definite color. One could almost see through his head and into the unknown. He was not one of them - he was too foreign. She wished he would stop looking at her. What did he want? She could not fathom.

Before he could think of something to say with his simple vocabulary, the bus arrived. The group of girls swarmed to the door and shoved each other to get on. She watched from a few steps back, but did not join the battle. He quickly walked over and blocked the door with his arm, then turned to look at her. All the other girls turned and looked at her as well. It was clear what he wanted, and it was too much staring for her to endure. She lowered her head and got on the bus, whispering a soft "thank you."

His boldness terrified her. She walked to the last row hoping to avoid him. He followed her and sat down next to her, blocking her way out. She had a moment of panic, but did not let it show. She answered his questions with either a nod or a shake of her head, speaking only a word or two when absolutely necessary. He did his best to start a conversation, but clearly she was not used to talking to a stranger. He could not tell how fast her heart was beating, but gradually he sensed he was not going to have a cooperate companion for conversation, much less anything else.

She stood up after what seemed to him a very short ride, and reluctantly he moved to let her pass. She got off the bus and stole a look back, relieved to be free of his spell. He watched her silky hair flow like the wings of a butterfly when the bus pulled away. With a silent sigh he lost sight of her silhouette.

Another time or another place, the encounter would be much different. Where is she now and how is her life? He sometimes wonders, but the quiet night thousands of miles away provides no answers.


  1. Sad and beautiful. Emotive as always. What happened to these people?

  2. tina - don't know. only your imagination will tell. :)

  3. Lovely! Is this based on a family story again? The imagery is wonderful

  4. wow, way to go, but god i hate busses

  5. I love the beauty of your words. Really. I get hypnotized in them and I lose the world I'm in to yours.

  6. Oh, you really ARE a Superior Scribbler! I'm feeling all tingly inside...

  7. Oh, i love it. It is quite sad but so real to life. These things do happen. I find that a lot from your stories- they are completely relatable and that in itself is a great gift of storytelling. If you can get your reader to say 'yeah, i know how that feels' then you're on to something. Brilliant. :)

  8. ug - thank you. no, i'm taking a break from my family stories.

    bob - lol. i hate them too. especially when people don't line up.

    mike - such wonderful words from you. i'm so glad you liked it.

    melissa - thank you. isn't the tingling the best?

    lou - thank you for your generous words. i tried to use real life as my inspiration.

  9. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO SARAH from Hope your holidays are joyful, merry and full of good things.

  10. Wow Sarah what an intense rhythm in this short story! I like it, especially the way you describe their feelings and thoughts. Well written!


  11. You know, I actually had an encounter like this once... only it was a train. This really took me back. Great writing, as always. Thanks!!

  12. boomer - merry christmas to you too!

    lorenza - thanks! glad you liked it.

    charlene - wow really? how old were you and was he cute?

  13. I love the way you paint the people in your stories. They are so vivid I can actually feel as if they are people I've encountered my self.
    Still reading through your list of posts...but so far it has been a wonderful wonderful experience.
    Tc. Leah :)

  14. Wow what a great story. This seems so realistic.

    Kate xx

  15. OK i feel all giddy like a teenager again. lol I loved this story. You are such an appealing writer. :)

  16. Sarah-poignant and beautifully written. I love your attention to detail. Amazing how these casual encounters can have such a lasting effect

  17. leah - welcome and thanks!

    kate - thank you!

    bren - aww, i'm so happy it makes you giddy. :)

    nothingprofound - thanks for the comment!

  18. Ah, chance encounters...anything can happen.

  19. sandra - have a great holiday!

  20. OMG! Sarah, I hadn't LURKED you yet!!!

    Holy crap! My bad, or what?!!!

    Great story...very lurkin' ya now Babe!

    Have a Very Merry Christmas & A Blogging Great 2010!

    Your Friend in Pen,

  21. msburb - after all this time? i thought you lurked me long ago! lol!! welcome!

  22. Sarah, you are my favourite blogger. Merry Christmas! I am so looking forward to more of your lovely writing in 2010.
    your friend,

  23. hi end late Merry Christmas I don't think I didn't put any comments yet on your blog. not because i don't like it or enjoyed it but because I am not exactly the best writer and I Sofer a severe case lack of spelling laugh out loud. I wish you a happy new year as well and I hope you can still buy on my blog and leave your comments as well. Sincerely yours Armando.
    My URL is

  24. armando - not to worry, and welcome. hope all is well with you and your wife. i can't spell either, so i use ms word to write. cheers!



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