I’ve been seated for an hour and I just reached three stations from the office. The traffic jam is getting worse everyday especially during Fridays. People are heading either north or south, excited to leave the city life temporarily. Just for two days, away from the noise and heat, away from the busy streets of the city, away from this never ending traffic.
“Three hours more”, I thought to myself as I watch the slapstick comedy aired on the bus’ tv. Honks are heard everywhere as majority of the public vehicles are trying to steal one another’s spaces. Sudden brake, people lost their balance, some are losing their cool.
“Oh my god!” shouted the lady, maybe on her 30s, with her class A purse. “I almost fell!”
Yep, almost but you didn’t. I thought to myself. I watched my co-passengers’ reactions. The murmuring continued for some minutes, a couple of more complains then silence.
I just passed by the fifth station and the TV lost its signal.I turned my data on and tried to watch animal videos by my signal is crappy as well. Turned on the music, every commuter’s best friend during traffic hours, and listen to some Panic at the D!sco.
Rain started to pour down. It’s my least favorite weather. My mood suddenly changed. I’m as gloomy as the weather. I’m currently listening to Sex and Candy. Slight headache, I can’t sleep either. The rain is keeping we awake.
“Hanging round, downtown by myself
And I had so much time to sit and think about myself…
and there he was…
My eyes met his eyes.
We had a stare showdown for about five seconds
…like double cherry pie
He waved from the other bus and we still stared at each other and I know I am not giving up
…there he was…
I waved back with no expression at all and he painted a smile.
…like disco superfly…
I’m too bored that I even waved back at him.
It’s as if we were having a stare showdown.
I smell sex and candy here
Who’s that lounging in my chair
Who’s that casting devious stare
In my direction
“This is crazy.” I thought to myself. I looked away and closed my eyes.
…Mama this surely is a dream
Two minutes passed and I checked him out. He was still staring thus catching me checking up on him.
He held a piece of paper this time
“Hi” it said
I drew a big question mark on my window.
He flashed another piece of paper
I didn’t bring my notepad with me so I reached for my phone and wrote
Rain started to pour heavily and my vision of him slowly faded. I can only see the rain now.
I’ve always hated the sound of the rain, even the sight of it pisses me off. I love the cold but I hate the gloomy feeling that goes with it. It’s as if the skies are crying.
We reached the sixth station, one and half hour of travel time. I wore my jacket cause the cold has spread down my spine. I looked at my window to get a view of the street until a familiar bus blocked my scenery.
It’s him again. What a bother. His bus is three feet away from ours. I can see a clear view of him this time. Fair skin, wavy hair, good built, nose is high but he has a pair of dull eyes, bushy but neat eyebrows… every girl’s dream guy but not mine… I don’t have any.
I tried to not pay attention but i can still see him on my peripheral vision. He’s knocking on his window. What crazy idiot would do that? I thought. I can hear the girls from front seat giggling. Yeah yeah, he’s trying to get your attention, you sluts. You get all giddy when you see someone good looking.
He would not give up, still knocking on his window.
I wrote a big question mark on my window again. He showed me his phone and gestured me to activate my share it application. I shook it off. I don’t talk to strangers let alone receive unknown files from them, might be a virus or god forbid, photos of their downstairs… if you know what i mean.
He doesn’t look like a pervert. He actually looks really decent but still, even if you trust God, you still have to lock your doors.
I ignored him for a minute and the he goes again… knocked on his window pointing at his phone. At this point, I already activated my app, and received a note.
I looked at him and he flashed that smile again. He dropped me another note.
“Read the first note, silly.”
I opened the first note.
“It’s you, right? I hope it’s you. Nice jacket! So, where are you heading?”
I dropped him a note.
“It’s me… Heading north.. somewhere north.”
The vehicles started moving again. Still heavy traffic and my lane is slow. His bus moved along but I can still see it nearby. I closed my curtain.
My phone vibrated. Another file request.
“Yeah me too. North. Let’s talk?”
“You need a hobby, obviously, what a bother.”
“Open your curtain party pooper”
“It is open.”
I lied through my teeth.
“You can’t lie, for real. Come on. Open your curtain. Your bus is next to mine.”
“They are open.”
“Your curtain is blue, right? The open curtains are yellow, ones in the front seat.”
He is in close proximity. His username still appears. Have I told you his username? Not yet? Okay, his username is “Andromeda”. Science, bitch!
When I opened my window, I saw his bus next to mine again. What’s more surprising is the jacket he is currently wearing… he wore a shirt before… and this jacket is strikingly similar to mine… only a shade lighter.
I dropped him a note.
“Nice jacket. Where did you get them?”
“Probably where you got yours.”
“I doubt it.”
Talking to him isn’t bad at all. The bus moved again. My lane is faster this time. His was slow though. I don’t know if he will be able to keep up with me. I lost him on my radar.
Fifteen minutes of peace. Signal is amazing and the rain stopped pouring too. Travel should be easier from here. Medium traffic and people dropping off. The isle is not as crowded as before.
It’s almost 7 p.m and I’m starting to feel hungry. Two stations more until I reach the terminal. The bus slowed down then stopped. There’s a little accident on the road, motorcycle vs. a cab. I wonder if somebody died.
“Have you seen the accident?”
Another note arrived. We’re back at it again. This guy keeps me company.
“Yeah. I wonder if the drivers are okay.”
Another file arrived, a photo this time. I was hesitant to open it but curious.
BLOOD, GORE, DEBRIS.
“You’re a fucking ass.”
No warning, no heads up.
“I thought you’d like them.”
He sent the photo of the accidents.
“So you don’t like gore?”
“It’s cold right? We’re gonna be stuck here for long so don’t be as cold as the weather.”
“It’s cold. I’m cold literally and figuratively and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“I figured, hence the jacket.”
“What kind of movies do you like? Romance, comedy?”
“Everyone loves comedy… I like thriller, suspense. I hate romance.”
“Well, I like classic movies. I like musicals. Anything with music actually”
“Ha! I see. I guess you like blue’s clues.”
“I love blue’s clues. I even have Steve’s shirt”
I love blue’s clues too.
“I would guess that your name is Mary but you don’t look like a Mary to me.”
“Yeah. I’m not a Mary. But you’re definitely a Rob.”
“Wrong. I’m not a Rob. Not close.”
“But you’re a Rob to me.”
“And I shall call you Mary from now on… So Mary, you like suspense huh? What’s your favorite movie?”
“I don’t have one. I don’t have favorites.”
“How about let’s kill some time and play a game?”
“Negative. I’m close to my station.”
“As I said, it will take long. The vehicles are barely moving”
“I’m guessing your favorite movie is Fight Club?”
I’m actually impressed that this guy knows Fight Club. I actually like that movie, but not my favorite.
“I told you I don’t have favorites but I like it.”
“Your turn to guess or ask”
“Guess what? Is this the game you’re talking about?”
“Yeah. We’re going to figure each other out. You can lie but that ain’t fun.”
“You wouldn’t know.”
“Come on. Try one”
“You’re an extrovert.”
“No. I’m neither. I’m an ambivert. I’m a balanced person.”
“Ah. Cool stuff.”
“You’re an introvert. Cold lady.”
“Damn right, boy.”
“You like sweets. Ice cream perhaps?”
“Who doesn’t love ice cream though? What kind of freak…”
“Me. I am that freak haha!”
“I know. I can tell. You’re a savory guy then. I bet you like burgers.”
“Yes. Double patties, with bacon and some other meat, salami for example.”
“Never had salami. But that sounds like cholesterol… your kind of burger.”
“I’m healthy. I may look sickly but I actually am sooo healthy.”
One file received. Another photo.
He sent me a selfie. No smile. Poker face.
Another file received.
Another selfie… He is smiling this time.
He is now the creepy guy who sends selfies to stranger. I haven’t even asked for his name yet.
“Two selfies for a stranger. Must be so confident.”
“Not really. I don’t look that bad right?”
“No, you don’t”
I may be cold but I am quite honest.
No response for another 3 mins. He may not be in close proximity. The vehicles moved too. The sky is clear and the traffic went from heavy to medium. There is a slight improvement. 12 minutes of travel and I reached the next station. One station more and I’ll transfer. I feel quite exhausted so I rested for a bit. I closed my eyes and cleared my mind. Although I can’t see a thing, I can hear the people saying excuse me, let me through to one another. Some complaining, some quietly walking out. The bus dropped some people and picked up another batch, just like the usual.
It’s almost 7:30 and past my dinner. I hope they still have my favorite sandwich at 711. As soon as I reach my next stop, I’ll treat myself a crappy bacon clubhouse.
40% battery is sufficient until I reach my destination. I just need to save it for now. I still need to listen to music even if I’m low on battery.
…Sudden brake. I dropped my phone. What happened this time? You know what, I don’t even want to know. I just want to rest on my bed and I couldn’t wait.
One file received… Another note.
“Hey! I’m back.”
What are you? How can the world be so little?
“Yeah. How did you manage to find me?”
“Ah… I just passed by your bus. I love this app though! The range is amazing.”
“Indeed it is.”
“I’m actually starving… I’ve been on the bus for too long.”
“So am I. Everyone is.”
“Let’s continue our little guessing game shall we? I’ll go again… You like girls…”
Of all the questions in the world, why this again.
“You’re not asking me right? You’re telling me.”
“So, you like girls huh?”
“That explains it.”
“That explains what?”
“You being so cold to me. LOL! Just kidding!”
“Why would I even be warm…forget it. You’re a womanizer.”
“Incorrect. Guess again.”
“Oh. I see.”
“You see what?”
He looked out his window and saw me giving him the thumbs down. He looked puzzled for what the thumbs down was for and drew a big question mark on his window and I just shrugged.
“Enough of this now. I’m exhausted.”
“Ah… you’re the kind of girl who just flies away!”
“Ah… you’re the kind of guy who thinks he can figure people out by speaking to them once.”
“Oooooh… shots fired.”
“Did I hit my target?”
“Sure, if you see an X mark on my face… You sure hit your target.”
“Yes. You got a big X on your face, how could you not know?”
“Cause I haven’t been hit by anyone… ever.”
“Oh wow. Why? For some reason, I don’t believe you.”
“Why? You’re Ms. Y from now on.”
“And you’re Mr. X.”
The traffic went from medium to light. I can feel the bus moving faster than before. No response from Mr. X. I can’t see his account on my share it home. I lost him now.
There will be a quick stop in 100 meters to drop off some people and hopefully, the travel goes smoothly from there.
No more people on the isle this time and some seats on the bus emptied but there are a few people who filled in the seats afterwards.
This by far is one of my longest travel from the office to the terminal. In approximately 10 minutes I’ll be reaching my stop. I can feel the exhaustion from every muscle in my body. This will be over soon, I thought to myself. I can already see my stop from 15 meters away.
“Hey you! Found you again.”
I didn’t respond.
“You’re headed to the terminal, right? My bus is next to yours. I can see your window.”
I kept my curtains closed… As soon as this bus pulls over, I’m out of here.
“Ms. Y. I’m at the stop right now. I’m quite hungry. Want to go get something to eat first before we part ways?”
Still, no response from me.
“Don’t fly away now.”
“I won’t.” I respond.
“Good. On the shed then. I’ll be there.”
The bus pulled over and I dropped off. Carefully blending among other commuters, I walked past the shed and to my bus station. I don’t know where he or if he really was at the shed. I bought a ticket and wait for the bus heading north to arrive.
I was supposed to get my sandwich from 711 but I’m avoiding that guy right now. Guess I’ll settle with crackers and aloe.
I’m hoping he was bluffing when he said he is on the shed… and I hope he isn’t waiting for me now. My bus arrived and I settled on my seat. I turned my music on, listened to La Vie En Rose. Few vendors went inside the bus and sold beverages, fruits and chips of all sort. One even offered me an orange for free to which I refused politely.
I fixed my things and adjusted my seat when another vendor offered me an apple, for free, again to which I also refused. The night has been weird for me. Another lady went inside the bus and started offering pies. She walked to me, smiled and handed me a paper bag which has a bacon sandwich and a cup of coffee, French Vanilla. Before I even asked what’s going on, she walked out without another word. She also left a single note on the empty seat beside me….
“I knew you’d bail out.”
First, my name is neither Rob nor Mr. X. And your username is funny. “Shewolf”. Is there a shewolf in the closet?
It was certainly not the first time that I saw you or talked to you. I guess you’re not very observant.
Do you remember that time when you were out late at night walking home with a bottle of wine? You didn’t even bother to hide it inside a paper bag. Then the next day you were at 711 buying cheap coffee, French Vanilla. You didn’t look so good back then. Did you sleep well or did you even sleep at all? Your hands were shaking and couldn’t even seal your coffee, that’s why I capped it for you.
A couple of days after, you went drinking early in the morning, vodka this time. I mean, who replaces coffee with vodka? I know someone who does that, you. And you even had the courage to go to work (I assume because you were bringing your laptop with you) afterwards looking buzzed as fuck, can’t even walk straight you duckling. Let me clarify that, I compared your walk to a duckling’s, I didn’t say you look like a duckling.
I was there, watching you. But don’t think I’m a creep. It just so happened that we were at the same place, at the same time, both of us.
I often see you walking past my apartment at 5:30, I assume you’re going home. I never knew which street you lived though.
For the past two years, I looked at you in a distance. You must really like that jacket you’re wearing right now. It suits you, however, I wish you wear colors other than black, grey and white. But that’s your style, who am I to tell you what to wear.
I’m curious about a few things too… I’m not trying to be intrusive… But how did you lose so much weight? You also chopped your hair off before Christmas… The morning, your hair was extending to your back. In the afternoon, it’s above the shoulder. Why? Also, when did you lose the twinkle in your eyes… I used to call you smiley but one day, you just became the poker face that you are today. Still, your eyes are smiling even if you look sad… But the sad smile, if that makes sense.
Anyway, I still can’t see you as someone named Mary, mainly because of your alcohol problems. And don’t even deny it. Don’t worry, I am not judging you based on your choices, I’m not judging you at all. But, what if your name were really Mary? That would be awesome, I guess. I’ve got a little secret though, I once tried to ask the service crew about your name but none of them knew. Two years of getting breakfast from the same store and they still don’t know your name? You’re trying to be mysterious, I guess… And you’re succeeding so far.
One more thing: you have a bad habit of texting while walking. Don’t you know that it’s dangerous to text and walk especially when there are cars and drivers who drive like they own the place? Also, you don’t own the street, missy. Smiling like an idiot whilst looking at your phone? Who is it that you’re texting? Can’t you not wait until you get home? Or he or she gives you the chill so much that you can’t even hide it? Your boyfriend? Ha! You have a boyfriend right… or a girlfriend perhaps.
Last thing, I’m not going to see you again, right? You packed your things. You have your suitcase with you. I saw you take that bus earlier and you looked sad and relieved at the same time. You know I wanted to help you because your things looked heavy but I am afraid that you might punch me in the face. Kidding, of course. Are you relocating or are you going home…for good? Either, I hope you become happy… I might have become more curious than I should have been, and I apologize. Curiosity kills the cat they say. And I don’t want to die, yet.
It was wonderful to watch you from a distance, missy. Guess I’ll find another hobby from now on.
You’re a bother but I am not complaining.
It’s one of the longest and the weirdest trips of our lives, don’t you agree? I wonder how many times you did something like this in the past: talking and bothering a stranger on a traffic jam.
Anyway, I don’t know you but you look familiar. Maybe you’re one of those who also take the bridge in the morning or afternoon, because I do also. Maybe you’re one of those faces who appear in my dream. Maybe you are just another face. I don’t know.
I impressed that you knew I was going to bail out. Am I missing something here? If you knew I was going to bail out, why bother though? And you even gave me food. It was you, right? You told the lady to hand me the coffee and the bread. If you knew where I was, why didn’t you hand it to me yourself? It was weird though. How could you possibly know what I like or maybe you just know how to pick random stuff… Could it be… You’re not possibly a stalker, right… Agree with me. I know you’re not because of all the people, why would you choose to stalk me? Don’t worry I’m not flattering myself. And about the jacket, we probably didn’t get it from the same store. I’m 90% sure.
I congratulate you for keeping up with me even for a short time. To be honest, I can’t even stand myself sometimes. And by the way, I want to recognize the fact that you’re quick. You are quick to assume that I’m someone who just flies away, and you know, I admit, you’re right about that. It amazes me how people can easily assume things about other people and get it right. But also, some assumptions can make you look like a fool sometimes. That’s why I don’t assume things.
We’re not going to see each other again. I’m heading north for good. I am going to leave the city life so this is our first and last encounter I guess. Pity we didn’t make the most out of it because I got a little curious about you. Not like I want to know you better, I just have a couple of questions.
Where are you heading and why did you wait for me on the shed? If you saw me walking, why didn’t you approach me? Is it because like me, you are not curious enough to exert effort on chasing someone? If that’s the case, it’s just fair for me to not feel bad for what I did. Besides, I did not promise anything.
And I didn’t have the chance to tell you this but I like your tattoo. Yes, I saw it earlier when you waved at me. That’s an anchor on your arm, right? I always wanted to get one but I’m scared that I might want to get it removed someday. I don’t want something permanently tagged on me.
I want to tell you a little secret, it’s not like we know each other right. Don’t worry, it’s not saucy or anything. One morning, I was hungover and I went to 711. I ordered coffee, French Vanilla. I went to fill my cup (it was self-service) and bam, I spilled it a little, went over the rim of the cup. I drank too much the night before that everything I see was hazy. Aside from that, I couldn’t even hold the cup properly because my hands were shaking. Of course, I’m going to take the cup to my office and I need to cap it, right? I tried at least three times, at this point, I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t do it so I kept doing it until a guy came over and capped it for me. He also had a tattoo on his arm. I didn’t really see the design clearly because obviously, I was so hungover and I wasn’t on the right state of mind. I don’t even know if I thanked him for helping me. But I really hope I did. But if I didn’t, well, I want to say thank you for helping me that morning… Yes. You. You were that guy, right? I realized it just now that I’m sipping the coffee you bought me. That’s the reason why you know what kind of cheap coffee I like. I hope it’s not too late to thank you for the kind gesture. Both for capping my coffee before and this.
While it’s true that I bailed out but it was a hell of a ride and you can’t deny that we killed some time, boy. I hope it doesn’t offend you when I call you that. And by the way, you can laugh all you want but my name is really Mary.