Thursday, January 17, 2008


“Hey, look, those people are getting on across the street. Cheaters. ”

My brother Thomas shrugs, unmoved by my whining, and huddles deeper into the collar of his jacket. Tuesdays and Thursdays our classes start at the same time, so we’re sharing a bus for the first time since my elementary days.

“They’re stealing all the buses,” I add. I’m glad I went back for my hooded jacket

“Yeah, but it’s a long route. I think it takes about 15 minutes for the bus to make it all the way back around.”

“I know it does. I’ve watched enough of them go by.” We settle into silent contemplation of our freezing extremities until another bus pulls up across the street. I frown at the people clambering onto it. “At least it’s warm on there. Maybe we should go across.”

“The problem with that idea is that you have to have 15 minutes to spare to get to class,” Thomas points out.

I glance at my watch, and roll my eyes at him. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t have class until 9:35.”

“What time is it?”

“9:10.” I so rarely get to correct him. I enjoy the inner warmth of smugness as the bus pulls off across the street. It doesn’t last long, but a girl’s got to distract herself from freezing to death somehow.

Our little frozen huddle of bus stoppers form a lethargic bunch, but we rouse somewhat as a bus pulls around the corner. We lean around each other, von Trapp style to scrutinize the display on the front. Route 27, the sign flashes. The lights scroll to the next panel. Another bus follows. It fans a cold wind across us as it wooshes by.

“Drat,” I grumble. “We should throw ourselves in front of the bus in protest.”

Thomas grins musingly. “The bus driver would be like ‘Another bus would have followed!” He sobs the last line, wringing his hands in imitation of the grief-stricken driver.

I laugh. “Man, I’ll bet three buses go past us. It probably would be faster to get on across the street.” It’s not the drivers’ fault either. Some of it’s beginning of the semester confusion, but mostly they’re just overloaded and understaffed. All around campus, the bus display boards flash: Now Hiring! They might as well add We’re Desperate!

The next bus knocks me out of my reverie as it zooms by, proving my point. School Spirit says its display board. As bus fumes envelop me the sign clicks over. Catch it! it beams at me, disappearing down the road. “The bus is mocking me, Tom,” I growl.

“You’ll live,” he says dismissively. “That or jump in front of a bus.”

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