The Bus

          As what the typically anxious Ellie will do, she puts out her phone and attempts to aimlessly scroll and swipe on her four-year old, outdated, phone. Then a notification appears on one of the social networking sites she’s logged in, showing no photos nor any posts at all, just an event title, a date and a time it will happen. Her sweaty palms will click on it, unbeknown of what she’s about to put herself in, she glances at the time yet her blurry vision cannot see it clearly. She puts her attention again to her phone’s glaring screen and squints her eyes to see that the event is sponsored by a famous toothpaste brand. The instructions were simple and direct: The event will take place in a bus that will be filled with single people of her age, it’s in your discretion and luck to find one pretentious fling, or any cheesy relationship of that type. It’s a typical marketing strategy for toothpaste brands; implying that, using whatever toothpaste that is, increases your chances of having that romantic relationship you see in chick flicks.

          Ellie clicks on the event, and sees that the bus where the event will occur stops at certain places, apparently she’s standing at one of them. All of a sudden a big bus parks beside her; the event is taking place here and now, she thinks she doesn’t know what to do but at the back of her mind she actually does. The bus honks for the second time as she jumps in for a ride.

            My parents will kill me, she says to herself.

          Ellie stands at the aisle for a moment and tries to grasp what she had just done, in her mind she gleefully chuckles at her utmost mischievousness for going to an event that involved no parental consent, considering the ulterior motive of it, but most of all: commuting, a big tick that triggers her anxiety. She scans the length of the bus for a moment, and to her surprise the males outnumber the females; some standing up, some already seated and flirting with the partner they chose. She finds two bus seats empty next to a guy, who for some reason she doesn’t understand, is seated on a lone separate stool beside the empty seats she is about to take. Ellie sits and looks outside the window, still thinking of what on earth she is doing.

         “Hey.”, the guy seated on the lone stool says. She shifts her attention and looks at this stranger, he looks like a warm person, she thought. But her automatic response, unfortunately, is to be an asshole. She raises an eyebrow and looks defiantly at him, surprisingly he isn’t slighted by it at all.

          He chuckles and says, “Move, I want to sit with you.”

        Ellie is surprised by this, her guts tell that such a stranger will not do anything to cause a commotion in a crowd of people, right? But she’s reminded that she’s in a bus with a bunch of other strangers, and the least she can do to lessen her anxiety of commuting is to not get off the bus until she knows where on earth this bus is taking them. Shen then, plays hard to get and doesn’t budge.

          The guy chuckles again and faces her.

         His playful chuckle mirrors the eyes that seem to smile at her own. She’s surprised for she feels as if she has known him for a very long time.

         “I want to sit with you.” He says again, this time he stands from his lone stool and sits himself next to her, Ellie starts to playfully budge but this guy is just persistent. He’s finally able to sit comfortably beside her, then they start to laugh at each other.

       When they have finally ran out of breath from laughing, they catch themselves looking into each others’ eyes; smiling like idiots.

         “Why wouldn’t you budge?” The guy asks, carefully not ruining the moment, to which Ellie answers, “Why do you care?” The guy chuckles and runs his finger on the strands of hair on the sides of her smiling cheeks, and carefully puts them beside her small ears. For a moment Ellie forgets her carelessness of clicking “Join” to that event that can probably lead her to trouble, and that her anxiety is killing her, for both her carelessness and anxiety has brought her this familiar stranger.

        The guy stands for a moment and goes to the other end of the bus, he tells Ellie to wait while he settles their tickets. Ellie rests her chin on her hand and watches the sunset like a live painting on the bus window. My parents are really going to kill me, she thinks as she figures out what time she will probably go home, or if she will be able to go home at all after this.

         I haven’t done anything like this in my life, well at least, alone. She reasons out. Someday this will all be just a funny story I’d tell my family and friends.

      The thought brings out the spontaneity in her, making her forget her fears. The moment she faces the seat next to her, it isn’t the familiar stranger she has grown to be fond of that is there; it is another guy! Her familiar stranger sees this and sits directly in front of Ellie, the sparkle in his eyes as he mischievously smiled at her tells that he’s not willing to let her go. Sitting with his back on Ellie, he rests his back on her and puts his head on her shoulder,

     “Babe, where do you want to eat later?” He says, while he winks at her. Ellie immediately understands what he’s trying to do and glances at the other guy seated next to her.

         “Hey! You can’t do that, she’s already mine!” The other guy defensively says.

        Ellie is taken aback by this and gets pissed at the other stranger who sat next her. Who the hell are you to say that I’m yours? She then jumps into the ploy, and plays along. She leans in, her face only a few inches away his and looks at his sparkling eyes, “Oh I don’t know babe, wherever is fine.” And smiles her sweetest smile. Her familiar stranger pauses for a moment, for he hasn’t seen that one coming, and chuckles.

       This pisses the other stranger off and goes off to find another gal, while Ellie’s own takes his seat again beside hers and holds her hand. There were no words needed, she rests her head on his shoulders and looks again at the sunset she was admiring earlier.

       The trip continues like how romantic chic flicks do. This is unbelievable, Ellie thinks. The lack of words made everything more endearing; she’s sitting next to stranger that she feels she has known for a long time, holding hands, with her head on his shoulders, with a beautiful sunset outside the window.

        Ellie starts to hope she can at least know his name, or he will ask hers, but she doesn’t want to ruin the moment.

       The trip goes on, and the affectionate gestures over words itches Ellie to know, who is this guy?

       But nothing. For some reason, her guts will tell that if she blatantly asks, it will ruin the moment.

        Finally, the bus stops and they will be told to go down and roam around. They are in a field, with muddy paths that lead the way. He grabs Ellie’s hand, telling her that they should go take a walk. Outside, they walk side by side wile adoring the horizon, hands clasped.

        And then he starts to walk ahead for a bit, Ellie just catches up.

       And then he walks further away, but still Ellie tries to catch up.

       But he became too far, “Wait for me!” Ellie says,

       Ellie looks at the footprints he made, and playfully steps on them as she follows him, his footsteps appearing to be a bit bigger than hers. Ellie chuckles, and then looks up to see where he’s going.

        But he was gone.

        Ellie stops.

This time I don’t know what Ellie would do, or what will happen next. Ellie thought that this would be just another funny memory that she would tell her friends, but me, I don’t know what this would be.

Perhaps I would know what Ellie would do if I know what will happen next, but I do not know what will happen next. My thoughts of how things would go is already bounded by an uncertainty that has set an end to a story I could probably do better at narrating. But that is just the end. I do not know if Ellie was able to go home, or if she tried to find him, or if she felt pissed off for being left hanging.

Maybe for Ellie, this is just a funny story she would tell her friends and family. But me, I felt the need to be pretentious to analyze what just happened, because it also consumed me. Perhaps, this is what happens when you grow fond of uncertainty; it leaves you hanging. What else is uncertainty personified but a guy leaving a girl, or either way, just like that anyway?

— 20161205

This is inspired by a dream I had the other night (well technically, dreams would take about five to ten minutes, so I think this already occurred in the morning when I was still asleep). It literally ended like how it did in the story. I told it to a friend and she pried me and kept on asking if the guy in my dream was really someone familiar. The same friend also told me to make it into a story (and here it is, I tried haha). It’s quite ironic because chick flicks aren’t my cup of tea, yet a dream inspired by one consumed me this much LOL.


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