a bus ride - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
We ride this silver cocoon over the earth, our eyes on the trees that grow in their infinite patience, leaves breathing out our oxygen, bathing in the same light as we soon will. I feel the movement of the wheels over the road, following the curves and greeting each slope in its smooth way. These bus rides are my meditation, a chance for my thoughts to greet the horizon, salute the clouds and ready my feet for the day ahead.
The bus rocks us from side to side as we travel these familiar roads, our brains afforded the time to daydream or rest. There are those who chatter, their voices rising and blending together in the sweet ritual of friends. Some absorb themselves in music, others drift into worries that will erase themselves on arrival, when their body rejoins the world of moving and speaking to others. And so it goes on that way, all of us together and separate, feeling all the same turns and bumps.
It is dawn as the bus trundles from the depot. Everyone awake. Everyone asleep. Their eyes are bleary, reactions slow, tiredness running in their veins just the same as their blood. It takes forever, it seems, to the passengers, for the old diesel engine to roar into life. When it does, a funny feeling comes, not excitement, though at first it appears that way. It's some relief, some fear, some grieving for the place they leave. Ahead is unknown, all they can do is pray for things to be better where they are heading for they cannot know what is on the other end, at the depot the bus stops at, engines cooling. Some cry, some look grim, and the children are held close and loved with all the strength they have left in their bodies. For what else is there the care about than their children? What else? And so though the bus is dirty and the road pitted and made bumpy with rocks, soon the tires will kiss the smooth tarmac of their destination. Will there be flowers and love? Will there be bread and a hard bed? With the bus in motion, an emotional no-man's land takes hold in its myriad of manifestations, every person unique, destination known and unknown all at once.
The bus is sleek, running over the black tarmac so fast that the passing greenery becomes a hazy blur. The windows are beaded and the rain beats on the roof like some crazy drummer. Inside we are a curious mixture of cozy and bored, all of us itching for the destination that will come eventually. Until then we read, feign sleep, do crosswords and tell jokes. Some read newspapers, kindles or work on laptops, most periodically check texts and smart phones - the addiction of our age, of our western society. All the while the engines purr; the aroma is of new plastics and fabrics. Perhaps "bus" isn't even the right word, maybe "coach" is, but in the end, what does it matter? We get to the destination just the same.
At the front of the bus sat a kid so tiny his bobbled hat only just peaked over the back of his seat. With every bounce of the suspension his head wobbled like it was only loosely attached to his neck. Then every once in a while he would disappear from view, only to bob right back up again. After ten minutes or so he wiped the condensation from the window with mittened hand and pressed a button nose to the glass. Hayley glanced around trying to see which one of these people looked like his mother. The kid was white, but that hardly helped, almost everyone on the bus was. His hair was covered. She gave up, it wasn't a very rewarding guessing game and she was going all the way to the depot, time for some music. By the time they arrived it there were only a few folks left, the kid included. As always, she got off last, hurrying just wasn't her thing. The boy was actually a girl, under that hat were auburn curls and in her hand was the leash of a puppy. When she walked off with no adult...
So when I see the bus pull in, an old model with worse suspension than a homemade pram, my heart sinks. Once the temperatures spikes that tin can's gonna stink worse than a half-time locker room. Then some infant will puke and and old man will puff on some homemade blend of tobacco. These buses have one rule – sit down and keep your mouth shut or get off. Well, that is the rule unless you have more brawn than the driver, then you can say whatever the hell you like. That's not me though, skinny girls like me sit and try to blend into the never washed seats with faces pointed at the window and never catching anyones eye. If I can manage to look sickly so much the better... no-one wants to get sick where we're going... no doctors, no hospitals, and no police that isn't bought and paid for by the local mobsters.
The bus stops, the driver pulls the doors open by hand and stands to take the money – crinkled notes and pockets of coin. I spy the tires, bald. The paintwork is barely a hint of white under the thick red dust of the region. The windscreen has only a section clear to see through, the rest is baked on dirt. This clanker is older than the driver and he looks like he's living on borrowed time too. He's no bouncer that's for sure; time to pull my hood right over my head. Mamma begged me not to go this year, but she knows I must, every year to the same spot with a single rose that lies wrapped in damp cloth in my shoulder bag.
The countryside passes like a bad movie I've seen too many times before. I can't think how long I've been on this bus. We left the monotony of the highway behind a long time ago and now the heat and the bumps of these unmade roads are lulling me into an uneasy sleep. My thoughts become random, crazy really, sometimes faces from last week and sometimes bizarre like a marvel movie. But never comes the face I want to see, Caspian, my brother. His face comes only in deepest dreams, handsome as ever, laughing, teasing, eating all the chicken
The few people sitting on the bus swamp the cab with muddied silence. The seats and windows shake with every small bump in the ragged pavement, jostling the passengers back and forth. The air conditioning pumps through only a few filters, whistling with the extreme pressure. It smells slightly of diluted gas. As the world slides by the window, there are small movements from amongst the passengers. Someone shifts in their seat, there's a little cough and a mild 'bless you'. The brakes squeak and everyone lurches forward as the bus comes to a stop. Outside, a woman drops her cigarette, smothers it with her foot, and steps inside, dropping a quarter in to the plastic box and blowing the last breath full of smoke in the driver's face, who swats it away in her direction as she walks down the aisle. The doors close with a gasp of air and the bus lurches on, repeating its eternal pattern of stops and gos, turning down its routine corners, and failing to avoid the ditches carved in the blacktop.
Loud, obnoxious children yelled and laughed. I gritted my teeth in annoyance. Then a kid tumbled into me and I grunted in anger and shoved him away. "Watch it!" I snarled and stood up. "Shut up! My gosh, do you have to be so loud?" I yelled, not caring about the glares or the way the bus driver stared. I just wanted and needed these people to shut up. No matter how many times the bus driver asked them, they didn't quiet down. Rebellious, ignorant, and undisciplined - as my father would say. That was for sure. I shoved away someone when they tried to yell at me. By the time the bus ride ended, I had been written up for punching someone.
The bus is anything but luxury, the seats dulled by the grime of thirty years. When it rolled off the assembly line the seats must have been a brilliant blue, the chrome hand-rails mirroring the sunlight. Now it is a canister to take us to the "salt-mines," whatever place of toil that maybe. I always expected to work, always wanted to work, but this life is breaking my back every day.
The bus is a clanker, yet under the faded yellow paint is a classic - the shape transporting me back to childhood. As it passes I barely see it at all, my mind painting a picture over the top, a picture of what it could be if it were restored. Call me nostalgic, but there was love in those old designs.
The sun was at its highest and beaded sweat trickled down my forehead. I stood in the never-ending queue for the local bus, which me, and many others impatiently waited for. After a couple of more minutes, the half – full bus arrived, and stopped with a jerk. Its engine let out a deep sigh, as though it reminded itself of the heavy weight it was going to carry.
Everyone - men, women, young and old entered the bus with all their might, almost blocking, or rather ignoring their peripheral vision. The bus sighed again, and started moving, its slow pace faster than mine as I looked for a seat, my knees wobbling and hands unsteady. There was no space to breath, let alone move around. Passengers were still settling down, some being the fourth on a seat for two.
There were handles hanging down the roof, made, perhaps for the probable event of crowding. After a failed attempt at seat-hunting, I resorted to standing, and got hold of one of the handles. Unfortunately, my nose came into direct contact with some loud smells, most of which were unpleasant. The most obtrusive was that of sweat coming from the underarms of a pot-bellied man who, like me, held a high handle. Then there was the smell of jasmine oil, from the slick black hair of a young woman who sat on the seat to my left.
Far at the back of the bus was a boy in his teens, with headphones on. He looked out the window through his huge glasses, clearly avoiding any human interaction in the saturated bus. I looked out too; there was traffic both inside and outside the bus. The place looked familiar, so I supposed we were going to arrive at my destination. I started looking for a way to the nearest door, in order to avoid pushing and panicking at the last moment. The bus stopped with a jerk again. The engine sighed, and so did I. I got off, thanking the driver, who smiled at me, his teeth red from chewing tobacco. His reaction was one of a kind, and it seemed like he'd heard those words for the first time.