The Bus Ride

Written by William Stokes

William, a billing rep at the call center of a major cable company, has finished his last shift of the week. Looking forward to a well-deserved weekend, he rushes out of the office to catch the last bus of the evening. As he approaches the bus stop, he notices the crowd of passengers waiting for the bus as well. His first thought is, “great; I didn’t miss it.” Also waiting is the attractive brunette in the blue scrubs who often rides the same bus as him. As he scans the crowded bus stop, she catches his eye. There she is, he thinks to himself. He ponders if she works in health care as either a nurse or maybe a doctor.

Finally, the bus arrives, and the passengers file in one by one. William wonders if there will be any seats left?  Making his way down the aisle, he spots an empty seat. As he approaches, he notices the passenger sitting in the adjacent seat, reading from a textbook. It is her!  Immediately he feels his heart racing, and his palms begin to sweat.

Alisha, a nursing student at a nearby school, is waiting for the bus when she spots that weird guy that often stares at her on the bus. She tries to blend into the crowd at the bus stop, hoping he does not notice her. Peering back through the crowd, she spots his cheesy grin.  Damn, he saw me, she thinks to herself. When the bus arrives, she hurries as far back into the bus as she can. Alisha hopes if the bus fills up, he will be stuck near the front, and she can avoid him.

But the bus is not filling up fast enough, and she spots him as he boards the bus. Please, someone, anyone, sit next to me, just not him, she silently prays. The seats remained empty as he made his way down the aisle. He is going to sit next to me I know it, she thinks. Alisha grabs a book from her bag and pretends to read. If he thinks I am reading he will sit quietly and leave me alone.

William nervously takes the seat next to Alisha. He sits as square as he can, head up, eyes forward, feet crossed at the ankles, hands in his lap, fingers interlocked, thumbs twiddling. He tried to make himself as small as possible to avoid invading her space.

As the two ride in silence Alisha thinks to herself maybe he’s not weird; he’s just shy. Alisha notices he is not a bad looking guy, and his cologne smells nice. He is dressed business casual so he must work in one of the office buildings near her school.

The awkward silence is too much for Alisha to bear any longer and William was obviously too nervous to be the first one to speak.

“Excuse me,” she says as she taps his shoulder to get his attention. “What’s the name of that cologne you’re wearing?”

 Did she just ask me question William thinks to himself?  Don’t just sit there, answer her, you idiot.

“Aspen,” he replies. One word; the girl you have been checking out asks you a question and you reply with one word. Is it any wonder you are still single, he thinks?

His train of thought is broken for just a second, when he hears Alisha say, “Well, it smells nice.”

Is she starting a conversation with him? Maybe all is not lost.

“Thank you. My name is William,” he says. “That’s a pretty thick book you are reading. What are studying?’ he asked.

“Alisha,” she replied, “I’m in nursing school.”

With the ice now broken they continued to talk the rest of the ride.  They discover they have a lot in common and eventually end up dating.

Leave a Reply