436: Bus Ride Home (Flash Fiction)
The young girl boarded the bus and sat close to the back, holding her dark blue satchel close to her body as slow romantic music played in her ears. It drowned out the sounds of the outside world as she waited for the bus to pull away from the curb. She cast a glance through the rain-soaked window, wondering what kind of dinner would be waiting for her at home. The home she had grown to feel more and more detached from, a home she called a mental prison instead. The mealtimes were all she looked forward to…
As the bus halted at a major stop, she watched as the passengers boarded the bus. An older businessman who looked like he was ready to retire, his wrinkled suit and tired, weathered face a testament to that possible fact. A young Asian couple, groceries in hand, chatting quietly between themselves in a foreign language. A lone student with stained uniform and downcast eyes, lost in his own music just as she was. And many more came, filling the bus to nearly capacity. No one sat next to her.
When the bus pulled away again, she began to watch the old businessman. He had his phone out and was scrolling mindlessly, perhaps on some social media platform she did not care about. His glazed eyes, his partially open mouth, his large, smooth hands, salt and pepper hair, wrinkles lining his face. Entranced by the slow music in her ears, which was now on a loop, she drew her eyes towards the young couple, their groceries sitting at their feet and in their lap. They chatted quietly with that special glimmer in their eyes, the kind only reserved for lovers. A small brew of sadness stirred in her heart as she created a little world for them, a story of tempestuous romance – no, perhaps not. A story of a pair of simple lovers who loved simply. The best kind of story. One that she desired, but could not yet have.
Her attention was brought away from the couple when the bus took a sharp turn, and she gripped the seat in front of her to steady herself. She was approaching her stop. Once the bus halted again, she wrapped her satchel around her body and stepped off gently, inhaling the bitter cold air and rubbing her bare arms instinctively. Dinner was waiting for her at home. The little world of that pair of simple lovers was lost on her as she walked down the long road, feeling cold, lonely, disappointed.
–I guess I call it flash fiction instead of drabble. I’m not sure. Let’s give this kind of thing a go. Wrote this for a small writing competition held on a public Discord server I joined about a week ago, maybe less. Nice community. I hope it gets me writing more, like an escape from my current, shitty predicament.