4 Replies to “4.28.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. On the night bus is where we met and where we keep meeting. The first time was like a hundred years ago. He doesn’t remember, but then that’s part of the charm. He has no memory of anything. We meet and I tell him my name all over again and who I am and where I work. He says he likes my hair. That’s what he said the first night and so I have kept my hair the same and he says it over and over, how he likes my hair.

    ‘Why thank you, kind sir,’ I say, and he bows, and we laugh.

    It’s like we are in a movie and we are playing it over and it’s all just the same every time. And if it was a movie he’d be that British actor from ‘Sliding Doors’ and I’d be Gwyneth Paltrow.

    His name’s Steve and he lives up Leamington way and he gives me his phone number and says how I should call him. Every time we meet he does that. I have a hundred bits of bus ticket and all of them have his phone number on. I tuck them into books I am reading and pin them onto my noticeboard in the kitchen. I always ask him why I should call him and he shrugs and says I just should.

    He points things out from the top deck of the bus, places we pass and he has stories to tell, always the same stories so that I have them by heart now and if for some reason he is not on the bus I point them out to myself and I tell his stories as if they are mine.

    ‘I was washing the windows there, and I swear the manikin in the shop window winked at me and pressed her hand against the glass. She was dressed in a red winter coat and her lips were painted red and her fingernails the same. She looked like someone I knew when I was a boy and with her face so close to the window there was a breath-mist on the inside of the glass. I swear it.’

    He sits beside me on the bus and he leans into me so that I can feel the warmth of him and the softness and the lack of any threat. There’s grey in his hair just lately, or maybe it was there before and I am only just noticing it. And small lines have appeared around his eyes, like cracks in the paint of an old painting. Years and years we’ve been meeting on the night bus, and every time is like the first time.

    Once I wanted it to be different. I wanted it to have moved on so that it was not like the first time but was maybe like the second or the third. I wanted to kiss him, just to see, and so I asked. I just came right out with it. I said, calm as you like, ‘Do you want to kiss me?’ He looked confused, and all the song went out of his voice then, and he stuttered and stammered over his words. I learned my lesson that night, and so now we play it just the way it plays and the way it always plays, and I like it that way.

      1. Hello, my writer friends! I just want you to know that I am very excited by all the activity and wonderful writing you are putting up. I hope to catch up to your input soon and give a number of things higher profile. Thank you for continuing to find inspiration here. It makes me eager to visit my own page! xo, Patty

  2. ’ve been driving the bus since I had to quit college. I got pregnant, see, and I didn’t have enough money to be a single mom and a student, so this seemed like an ideal job. My mother can take care of Jensen during my night shift, and then I get home, get him off to school, and I can sleep until he comes home. Works perfect, and pays about as good as anything you can get with no education.

    People think driving the night bus must be dangerous, but actually this city is pretty dull at night. A few drunks, maybe, and some trannies fluttering about in short skirts and stilettos, but mostly just other night people going to work or coming home. I get to know them and I usually can call them by name. One guy’s a regular who plays guitar in a club, he rides to work and sits in the back and practices until we get to his stop. And then I got this one Slovak lady, she cleans offices down on 43rd Street, and every night she brings me something to eat—cookies, or a sandwich, or maybe a juice box. Her name’s Zuzanna, and she’s got a boy about the same age as my Jensen, so we talk about school and how fast boys grow out of their clothes, and where the good sales are. There’s usually nobody riding when she does so she sits right in back of me and we can have a pretty good chat.

    Of course, I don’t always talk to folks. There’s two, three guys that are regulars, board down by the docks. They’re usually drunk, and I watch pretty close. One of them stood in the back once and yelled for me to stop the bus, like right now. I’m good about stopping even if there’s no regular place nearby, but there was a semi right on my ass, and I couldn’t do it. He got mad at me and just stood there and peed all over the floor. I couldn’t do anything right then, but when I could pull over, I walked back and yelled at him to get the hell off and never to ride my bus again or I’d call the cops. I see him now and again, but not like before, and he always acts pretty good.

    Sometimes the drunks make real messes on a bus, like throwing up. One dude bled all over the bus from some fight he was in. Then I gotta call the garage for a new bus, or maybe I call 911 if it’s too bad. Doesn’t happen real often, but one of the things that makes a good bus driver is that you can’t lose it over the dumb things people do. Like I said, it’s not dangerous to drive night bus, but I sure have met my share of real stupid people. One lady was riding with her kid in a stroller. It was kind of hard to get that buggy out of the back door of the bus and she got flustered because we were all watching her. She got the stroller thing off, but she left her baby on the bus seat and nobody said anything for two blocks. I had to call 911 on that one, for sure.

    Anyway, I been in this job for fourteen years now. The city’s got eleven routes and a mixed bag of busses, GMs and Novas and Orions. That new Nova we got drives great, but some of the older ones are real dogs, and I just hope I never have to drive a couple of them. One thing though, when you get in a traffic accident with a car, the bus usually wins.

    Like any job, this one can be real boring, too. Taxi drivers, they can talk on the phone and listen to radio, but bus drivers can’t use ear buds and I don’t like sharing my favorite kind of music with a bunch of passengers. Phones, we can’t use ‘em either, except in emergencies. So figuring that I’ve been driving the same streets pretty much all these years, and on the night shift there aren’t many traffic jams, well, all I gotta do is make sure the customer pays, and that I don’t get robbed myself, which has never happened since most of the regulars use passes, not cash.

    When I took this work, they said night bus driving would be tough for a five and a half foot girl. But you know, I love my job.

    If anybody asks me, I say that every night I get plenty of people to talk to, some good food, and a view of the city. What’s not to like?

    (writing prompt from Patricia McNair)

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