The Bus


The neon blue light of the bus tints the aisle, lighting up everyone’s face until they look like ghosts. I study the unmoving mouths of the passengers as they claim various blue and white plastic seats. No one talks much on the night line.

I watch as an old woman pushing a shopping cart sits in the seat across from me. She’s chewing something, but she never swallows. Her cheekbones are sharp and one eye is wandering across the left side of her vision. I can’t look at her. She’ll talk to me.

That’s what happens when you’re nice to people. If you smile, they sit next to you. If you nod when they talk, they’ll never stop. Headphones and long jackets. I want my hair to cover my face.

I look down at my hands. My fingernails are light blue to match my sweater. My mp3 player with the missing battery cover is jammed into one of my many coat pockets. From the look of the dangling white cord in front of me, I could have an ipod.  I’m not going to end up homeless, I keep chanting in the back of my head as I try not to look at the woman. Just because I don’t smile at her, doesn’t mean that this will someday happen to me.

The thoughts are drowned out by a rustling sound. I can feel a light warmth on the top of my scalp. I shake my head. The warmth grows. I can feel it clinging onto each strand as I try to shake the feeling. Immediately I turn to face the person behind me.

Eye crinkles and white hair. This man is just as old as the woman across from me. His eyes are dead and far off. I can smell alcohol on his breath. His hands are shaking and I can see strands of my hair wrapped around his little finger. They stick straight out in four static lines.

“Excuse me,” I look around the bus for anyone to help me. How could someone think this is okay? The woman with the lazy eye is staring in two different directions. One eye looks to the left. One eye is rummaging through her shopping cart. I am just as invisible as I never wanted to be.

Curling Iron

curling iron

The rigidity is hard to melt away. Cold. Brittle. I feel like she’ll snap without me. My heat, the warmth that comes over me, will curl over time. I wait for morning when she’ll reach for me. Needing me. Sharp, pointed, jagged and cut, I make her hard edges soft. When she looks in the mirror I know what her expectation is. Perfection. The kind of control that’s kept just under a flame. The kind I can not give her.