Word Count: 422
It is always there (the bus is), but you never notice it. The bus stops are not exactly inconspicuous, and the bus itself is even less so. Funny, because that cliché of the child protagonist panicking and yelping "I'm late for the bus!" is so widespread in media and such- you can easily picture it, but you never think it might apply to you. Funny, because today that exact routine-that-only-happens-in-movies might play out. That possibility remains for tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. Then next week.
It still feels like a dream. You pinch yourself in the arm for a moment, just to confirm that it's not. It's not.
Would it be okay to put the bike on the rack at the front of the bus like you've seen people do? You wonder if the bus driver would mind you asking some questions. They always seem so busy. What kind of mysterious secrets are there to be had in public transportation, anyhow? Referring to what Korean dramas, chick flicks, and action movies you've seen (not excluding that bus hijacking in Death Note), the bus is a place rampant with potential stalkers, mass murderers, love interests, FBI agents, or worse. Heavens. You're beginning to regret your decision to board the bus.
But you’ve arrived early, and that cliché scenario you were hoping to avoid has been prevented for today. One giant of a white van with “Route ****” flashing above pulls in front of the bus stop. Some of the people already sitting inside seem to peer at you with remote interest, but most just ignore you. The driver gives you an absent nod as he waits for all passengers to swipe their cards and board.
Whatever excitement it was that consumed you whilst you were fantasizing is definitely not apparent in anyone else on the bus- if it is, you can’t tell. You swipe your 30-day pass, feeling a brief sense of victory when it seems you have successfully swiped it, and choose a seat in one of the rows facing the center of the bus. All is calm and quiet once the driver continues on his route again, and you stare eagerly out the window. Hand poised on the wall, you wait to request a stop. You’re so self-absorbed that you forget about the mysterious other people on the bus until you disembark.
There will be others when you come back on the return trip, though. Comforted by the thought, you head to your next destination.