The Night Bus

It was an exhausting day in the office, and my mind thanked God that it’s Friday. I cancelled my usual Friday morning plan of hanging out and staying late after work and just decided to go home. Loser, I know, but it turned out to be a wise decision because thunder roared as soon as I took my seat inside the bus. It was a sound that promised heavy rainfall, flooded streets, and endless traffic. Still, thank God it’s Friday.

Lightning flashed and I rushed to plug in my earpods so I won’t hear the thunder that came after. I failed, of course, because one can never beat nature. I turned the volume up and immersed myself in the music while watching the rainfall from the other side of the window. I braced myself for a long, long night.

Minutes later a lady sat beside me. She was soaking, and guessing from the uniform she was wearing, a bank employee. I scooted closer to the window. Once she’s settled, she took her mobile phone out of her dripping shoulder bag and tapped a contact from the screen before putting the device next to her ear. I tried not to eavesdrop, but it was difficult because I was bored.

“I could not believe you stood me up!” She choked. Oops. I turned my iPod’s volume up another notch, deciding that it would be better to drown myself in my own world, no matter how boring it gets.

I must have dozed off. I glanced at my watch to check the time. It was eight o’clock in the evening. I’d been sitting in the bus for more than an hour, when under normal circumstances it would only take thirty minutes. By impulse, I turned to the lady beside me. The phone conversation was over, and she just sat with her face covered with the purple handkerchief in her hand. At first I thought she was sleeping, but then I saw her shoulders shake. She was crying.

Every other person in the bus was restless. From where I was sitting I could see them checking the time, and either shaking their heads or scratching them at the same time. From behind me I could hear a man calling his wife. “I’m in the bus, where else would I be? Are the children home?” And at the seat in front of me, someone just sneezed. From the far back a baby was crying. My iPod’s out of battery. Another lightning. Another thunder.

When I at last I was out of the bus, I sighed, both in relief and frustration. It was Friday night phase two—braving the flood.

~~

Writing 101: Death to Adverbs — Go to a local cafe, park, or public place and report on what you see. Write an adverb-free post.   

Sun and Stars

“You’re too good for me,” he said. That was the last phrase that I wanted to hear that night, as I stood in front of him, my broken heart in my hands, begging him to take it.

“But I chose you,” I whispered. “You’re the only one who could see past everything. You knew me, inside and out, and I trusted you.”

“Yes… and knowing so much about you made me realize that I will never be worth it. That in your eyes, I will always be nothing.”

But you’re never nothing to me, I tried to say, but instead these words came out. “I bet, in her eyes, you are the sun and stars.”

I saw hints of pain and anger on his face. “Yes, while for you I’m just dirt. A parasite who can’t do anything on his own.”

If my heart was already broken, his words crushed it even more.

“You may not be the sun and stars to me,” I told him. “But I valued you more than my own life.”

As if waking up from a trance, he took me in his arms and whispered these words. “I love you, okay? But it will never be enough to deserve you.”

When my mind cried I love you more, it dawned to me that he could be right.

~~

Writing 101: Give and Take — Write a post based on the contrast between two things. Write your post in the form of a dialogue.

I Know Why

I remember the first time I saw you. I was sitting at the church balcony, facing the stage. It was only my second time in that place—your community, his family. I was there with the rest of the technical team because I volunteered to assist him by flashing the lyrics on the screen, while he sang. I learned to do it from my own community, and he thought it would be wonderful for me to demonstrate how it’s done. I was very proud, and happy, to support him.

I was setting up the laptop, with my hands cold, when you called my name. I looked up from where I was sitting and saw a girl in a navy blue knee-length dress and a grey cardigan. Your hair was twisted in a bun in an effort to moderate the frizz. Your face would have been really pretty, if it weren’t for those pimples that seemed to be taking their time to heal. “He’s looking for you downstairs,” you told me with a smile, your respect for him evident in your voice.

And then I saw you every Sunday after that, but we didn’t talk much. Maybe you thought we didn’t have much in common, that we didn’t have enough common ground to be friends. In your defense, I didn’t try to befriend you as well. I was there for, and because of him. I didn’t really have much time to think of anything else.

It was December when I began seeing the clues, at a Christmas party. Your hair was no longer frizzy and tied up, but was rather black and straight, flowing smoothly behind your back. The pimple marks were fading, and the denim shorts you’re wearing were too skimpy for my liking. I watched you smile, and I found you really pretty.

The group exchanged gifts, and I was lucky enough to receive the one you wrapped. It was a book, and I genuinely smiled. “I hope you read it,” you said. “I sure will,” I replied with another smile, saying how much I love books. And you said you do too. From the corner of my eye I saw him looking at us, watching the entire exchange.

The party ended and you walked me to the station with him. I got in the bus and waved goodbye, and the two of you waved back before turning around and walking back. And that’s when I saw it. It was in front of my face all those days. I felt my heart constrict. I found out the truth.

You were very much like me…

And he liked you.

~~

Writing 101: A Character-Building Experience — Who’s the most interesting person (or people) You’ve met this year? Turn your post into a character study.

Head or Heart

Dear JC,

Do not freak out. I am your future self.

I wrote this letter to warn you. What happens ten years from this day is dependent on the choice that you are about make.

Head? Or Heart?

I chose heart. And that’s the reason why I wrote this letter.

~~~

Writing 101: Be Brief — You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter. Approach this post in as few words as possible.

1/3: The Wait

I know he belongs to her now. I know it’s pathetic to still wait for him, at this hour. But I have been waiting for three hours, another two won’t hurt. Right? He said he’ll be here, and he’s never broken those words before. Though everything’s different now. Though we both said it’s over. Though what I’m asking would hurt someone else. I’ll wait for him. He’ll come.

An hour.

A couple of hours.

22:02. I glance at the bedside table. Cakes don’t spoil easily, right? It’s chocolate. I bought it before I came here. I asked for a candle, but they said there’s none left. I bet I’m not the only one who’s celebrating today. It was raining hard outside and it was hopeless to find a candle, so it was just the cake. I’ll just keep the wish to myself.

22:35. Should I still wait? Viber message delivered.

23:00. I dial his number. It’s ringing…. He cancelled my call.

23:01. I dial his other number. The telephone number you dialed is not is service or out of coverage area…

I feel cold. A drop of tear on my mobile screen. And another. Another. I am shaking.

23:40. I reach for the switch and turn the lights off. It’s over. He’s not coming. Who was I kidding? I reach for the blanket and wrap it around me. Time to sleep.

23:52. My phone vibrates. Yes. I’m still in a meeting. Will be there at 12:30. Wait for me.

23:53. Tears. Ok, will wait.

~~~

Writing 101: Serially Lost — Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t anymore. Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.