As continued from Part 3
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
The bus driver stared at my hand as I dipped my MetroCard into the farebox, making my payment. I picked a seat in the middle of the bus. A few people were doing small talk about elections and the New York Red Bulls’ pitiless victory over the weekend. The majority was quiet, thinking or busy on their cell phones or tablets. The engine revved and rumbled on Vanderbilt Ave, heading towards the 278 Interstate Highway.
Those who talked about New York Red Bulls’ victory were unfair to me. They made my mind jump to Saturdays afternoon – Leon and I screaming and running all over the living room when the New York Red Bulls had scored. To avoid sinking even deeper until I cried, I tried focusing outside, but I could not completely avoid them. I could even hear that the game was terrific.
I yawned so loud that some old lady sitting across the aisle glanced at me. She smiled when our eyes met. I only managed to grin and looked at the other side, outside, lest she started a conversation. I was too messed up, hungry and tired to small talk a lot of nothing. It was definitely my heart pushing me to press on; otherwise my body demanded many hours of bedtime and a full meal for I had skipped supper and breakfast.
As I looked outside I found myself scanning every young woman with long brown hair, hourglass figure, walking next to the road. The bad part was that I wasn’t the one driving the bus. I couldn’t slow it down when I saw someone extremely close. A curious individual observing my moves must have thought I was counting all pedestrians walking by the road.
“Jesus,” I said reflexively, “Grace.” I rushed to the front and stood next to the driver.
The driver glanced at my face. “We are four minutes away from the next stop, relax sir.”
“Please drop me here. Please,” I said, staring at him.
“Sir you know, rules are rules. And it’s you folks who report us,” the driver said.
“Stop the bus,” I screamed, surprising myself for acting that way in public.
At the corner of my eye I could see all the people staring at me. Some were even shaking their heads. Some looked frightened probably thinking I would take out a gun and shoot some of them to show the driver I was serious. But I didn’t care how anybody viewed me. They had no idea how it felt like to me at that point in time – none of them could handle being me.
The driver shook his head and stopped the bus in the middle of the road. I jumped off and ran back to Grace. I was sure it was her in her brown boots, long grey shirt, zebra coat, brown scarf wrapped around her neck.
However, when I got to the bus terminal where I saw her, there was no one – she was gone. All energies in my body left me. I sat down on the snow covering the pavement for there was no way I could stand. My stomach became hard as a rock. I cried literally.
Two young women in skinny jeans and big coats walked past me. They glanced at each other and giggled. Faintly, I heard one of them saying, “He’s losing the damn thing.” And they busted into a loud laughter.
I didn’t blame them, they were too young and naïve to understand the definition of life. They knew the fancy definition of life found in the dictionary, yet the real definition of life isn’t in any dictionary, but you get it when you find yourself sitting down on a public pavement – your brain threatening to shut down permanently.
My cell phone rang. I quickly jumped to my feet, and took it out. Mila was calling, unfortunately. I was disappointed, because I hoped it would be Grace, telling me she was at home already.
I said, “Hello.”
Mila said, “I ain’t sure about this, but I saw some woman dressed exactly like my friend: brown boots, long grey skirt, zebra coat, even her brown scarf. ”
“Downtown Brooklyn. I was at the bank. When I saw her outside I dropped everything and ran out, but I couldn’t find her.”
I cut the call and called a cab.
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