I am standing at the bus stop. My car broke down and I cannot use it for a week. The mechanic at the shop said to pick it up on Friday but today is only Monday and I have to get to work on time. Just like everybody else I work Monday through Friday nine to five. I hate working and I hate my schedule. When I was in college I always thought that I’d never be able to do this Monday through Friday, nine to five thing. I am forty-one and I am married. When I was in college I also thought that I’d never get married and have kids. I am forty-one and I am married with two kids. Alex and Victor, they are biological twins. Yes, I have three grown men in my house and none of them could give me a ride to work this morning. Fucking unbelievable.
What is that bus that’s supposed to take me to work? 186? I had a little note in my hand and I could barely read. Of course, I forgot my reading glasses.
“Excuse me, sir? Would you tell me what bus should I take to get to 620 Eighth Avenue? It’s the New York Times Publisher” – I asked the only man standing next to me.
“How am I supposed to know?” – He mumbled back. He seemed to be missing a few teeth.
Great, just great. I am stuck on the bus stop with a grumpy moron who does not even know where the New York Times is. Well, who said he ever heard about it or even knows how to read? Yes, buses gather some weird crowd around them. Do I want to be around? I have no choice; I’ve got to get to work. Being there on time is not an option anymore. So, 891 or 897? For God’s sake, my husband could not write it any smaller for me? How can I read this chicken scratch on this super tiny piece of paper without glasses?
Here comes 187. Should I take it? Yeah, those men… You never know where the bus is going even if it seems to be going where you need to get. Instead of eighth it will take you to eighteenth or eighty first. God, I hate buses!
“Hey, sweetheart, why don’t you ask the driver, he might know where is that Time Square…” the toothless seemed to be a little nicer but he had a bad breath so nothing could help him now. I nodded. 187 stops right in front of us, the doors open. I am staring at the bus and thinking how many buses I took in my life and why I ended up marrying a private shuttle. The doors close. I forgot how quick those buses are. Either get in, get or walk away. The only problem I never walk away. I am standing right there, on the bus station, waiting for a right bus, hoping it will take me where I need to go. And like many years ago, I worry that it will not come, that it will be stuck somewhere on the way, or change its route and go away. And just like many years ago, it comes back finishing its circle, right here to the bus stop where I keep standing and opens its doors like ten minutes ago, like it never went away. I hate buses.
“ Honey, ask the driver if he’ll take you to your Time Square,” The Toothless insisted. I think he was not quite sober. I bravely step forward to the bus hissing back at the Toothless “I am allergic to honey, idiot” and ask the driver:
“Excuse me, sir, is this bus going to Eighth Avenue?”
“No honey, it does not”
The doors close right in front of my face and the bus leaves. I start scratching my arms. I am allergic to honey and people who call me honey. Times two. The allergy is approaching. So, the 187 is out of my mind, not out of the circle though.
I could ask the Toothless if the 186 bus is coming anytime soon. I did not. He made me itchy just by standing next to me, talking to him would kill me. I merge to the other corner of the bus stop. A few people passed by. Smart people walking on their own and do not deal with buses. Another 187 stops in front. How many times is it going to come back? Very annoying! I forgot how annoying that is! Gone and back, gone and back. “I am leaving and never coming back!” Here he is, back and ready to open the doors like nothing happened; as many times as you can imagine. A young woman came out of the bus, she was smiling to herself thinking about something pleasurable. That’s right, I did not take a ride, another one did… God, I hate buses!
The 891 was approaching from around the corner. Hmm, it could take me to work, or not. I’ve been there, done that… You take the “right” bus, and it takes you God knows where. Next thing you know, you get dumped out. Turn around, and a good half of your life is gone, together with that damn bus. I looked at the sky. What a fresh sunny day for the old sad memories… I am not sitting in that bus.
The phone rang. I looked at the screen of my cell. My husband Neal was eight years older than me. He picked me up when I was still young but already sick and tired of riding the wrong buses. He never went in circles. He parked next to me and never left.
“Hello?” – I answered his call.
“Baby, you are probably going to kill me. The bus number of the bus that I gave you today… Well, it’s not going where you are going.” Very happy and guilty voice.
“Is that right?” I was still wandering in my thoughts.
“Where are you now? I can pick you up and take you to work,” He offered.
“I am still standing at the bus stop” I smiled. He was always there when I really needed him, except today’s morning.
“Still there? It’s been almost an…”
“Just get your ass here, would you?” I was afraid of seeing other buses, remembering other stories, and building analogies with the past.
“I will be there in a few!” He hung up. And I knew he will be here very soon, my private shuttle, saving me from the memories, taking me away form this useless bus stop where buses are circling around me round by round, without getting me anywhere. I hate buses.