02 October 2011

Bus Drive to Baltimore

Guess which Biblical character inspired this short story:)

A husky voice cleared his voice over the intercom and informed us of our departure. The hum of the large engine started and it soothed the tension as we journeyed towards home. My body started to ease back into its normal state of being as the bus sped past the now blurry mountains. I rested my head on the headrest as I silently rejoiced. I tried not to glance out my side window too much but the corner of my eye always caught a glimpse of the outside. I sat upright and forced my attention towards to the occupants of the vehicle. Most of them were people I knew. It was difficult to not force back a smile as I saw the familiar faces with a certain ease on them. The same look I probably had. We were all traveling back to the place we had grown up and the place where our lives were forever constant. But there was no childlike excitement that would have us on the edge of our seats, constantly questioning our irritated guardians with an exasperated, “Are we there yet?!” No, but there was an eagerness that was occupied by a peaceful being. It was very quiet, which was surprising considering the large number of people on the bus, and the large number of people on the bus who actually knew each other. I looked towards the driver threw his mirror and saw the concentration on his face, and felt a rush of eagerness in the way the bus rolled. I figured he must have been stationed in Baltimore.

I leaned back once more, and almost immediately sat upright once again. A long high squeal from the right of me pierced my ears. I shifted my body angrily towards the horrid noise and I saw the quick movements of a small girl with high bouncing pig tails. Tears streamed down her red cheeks as she screamed, with arms raised and waving in a maniacal position. The woman who I assumed to be her mother looked at me apologetically and proceeded to try and calm the young girl. The screams increased, and so did my irritation. More people on the bus started to get uneasy, and there was an united rustling through the seats. “I WANT TO GO BACK HOME! I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE! BARRY WILL BE ALL ALONE!” screamed the little girl. The vehicle moved up and down as the driver drove over an unleveled road. The girl’s mother rubbed her back and said calmingly, “We have to go back Ruth, don’t you want to see daddy?” Ruth’s cries stifled and her arms relaxed, but she balled up her little fists and curled into a tense position as she stared at the floor. “Problem solved”, I thought to myself. I leaned back once more, this time keeping my eyes locked little Ruth’s face, prepared for any sudden encore outburst. She poked her lip out and looked up towards her mother again. As she spoke once more, her voice was softer and flooded with emotion and even, pity. I leaned in closer out of unexplained curiosity. “I do want to see daddy”, she exclaimed, “But I miss Barry so much, and I promised him I would never go back to Maryland again, not without him.” Her mother chuckled and took Ruth’s small round face into her hands. “Honey, I know you grew to love Barry, but he has to stay back home with his mommy and daddy. Besides, I thought you hated the rain, and you know it rains all the time where Barry lives. If we go back to Baltimore, we only have to deal with it in the spring.” Ruth shook her face out of her mother’s hands placed both hands on her hips. “I don’t care about the rain anymore mommy. Barry has a cool lighting umbrella!” Ruth’s mother laughed once more and shook her head, “I don’t think he has one for you though sweetheart.” Ruth sighed and bowed her head towards the ground again. “But he always let me use his,” she said in a sad tone barely audible. Her mother continued to chuckle silently and repeatedly rubbed her daughters back.

A few moments passed and the bus soon regained its peaceful tranquility. My eyes grew weary as I stared at little Ruth. She softly began singing what had sounded like a made up song about the rain to the tune of the old hymn Amazing Grace. She placed her head on her mother’s lap and I could tell the song was almost over as her eyes drooped in and out of focus. Suddenly, the music stopped, and I decided she had finally gone to sleep. I knew she would get back to her home and see her father and everything would be okay. The sting of leaving her friend Barry would soon leave with the excitement of seeing a familiar place; Her home.

Her eyes were closed, but her fists however, were still balled up. I turned my head towards my window and closed my eyes as well. It was surely true that the place we left had a stormy climate. The uncertainty of the weather was one of the reasons I was so excited to leave. But that had only just come into to my mind, for I had learned to adapt to the constant change in weather. Labor was particularly difficult with the increased amount of rain and waiting every morning in it for a reliable local bus was horrific. There was no telling what would happen. But I had learned to adapt. There were friends, not companions. They were few, but there were good. I had learned how to organize much better than I had before, and I started to plan things out more carefully. But Baltimore was my home, the place I had lived since I was an infant. In the constraints of that city I was safe. My thoughts turned into dreams, and I do not know why my hands also turned into fists.

1 comment:

  1. It felt like I was on the bus with you. Very good short story. Very descriptive, very colorful.