"The Bus Ride"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
About a teenage girl that leaves home and heads for Hollywood...

Submitted: August 19, 2017

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Submitted: August 19, 2017

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“The Bus Ride”

 

 

She never really

wanted to

if you had

asked her

a month ago

she would have

laughed

at even the thought

of it.

She rests her head

against a

wadded up jacket

that is pressed up to

the large glass window

of the Greyhound bus

watching farms and

cornfields

turn into trees

and mountains

before flatting out

into California

nothingness

which was what

she was peering into

right now.

Things had gotten

bad for her

back home

with her mom working

long hours

and her stepdad

laid off

6-months ago

turned day drinking

into a full time job.

She liked the

openness

of the desert

the early morning sun

was reflecting off

her window

creating a small

spotlight

that she watched

as it raced along

beside her

flying over the

uneven

broken ground

as the bus

sped along

it’s never ending

asphalt trail.

She had saved

a fair amount

of money

leading up to

what her best friend

coined as

the “Great Escape”.

Once the decision

was made

they spent two weeks

planning out

all the minutiae

details

when the day

finally arrived

she walked out

the door

with just her

backpack

and a large

duffle bag

she had used

to carry her

softball gear in

stuffed with clothes

shoes

and a few personal

items.

The bus pulls in

to what isn’t

a station

but more like a stop,

driver holler’s out

“15-minutes”

“Clean bathrooms”

“And some”

“Vending machines”

she stands up

leaves her jacket

but takes her

backpack

and filter’s out

with her fellow

passengers

taking advantage

of the opportunity

to stretch their legs.

She jumps down

from the stairwell

on to the ground

and was a bit

surprised

at the height

being more than

she had anticipated

she readjusts her

backpack

slung over her

left shoulder

after her awkward

landing,

she feels surrounded

by the immediate

presents

of the day’s heat,

as soon as she

steps out of the

shadow of the bus

she is blinded

by the brilliance

of the sun’s light

her friend had

told her

to by some

sunglasses

“Everybody wears”,

“Sunglasses”,

“In California”,

she had said

but she just

laughed it off

as a silly saying

but as she

shields her eyes

with her hand

trying to locate

the vending machines

sunglasses move

more than

just a few

notches up

on her list

of things

to buy

once she hits

Hollywood.

She had left

early

on a Friday morning

leaving a note

for her mom

saying she’s staying

the weekend at

her friend’s house

and another note

hidden

for her mom

that she wouldn’t

find

till she was

long on her way.

She needed to go

before her stepdad

woke up from his

drunken slumber

less questions

that way

she told her friend

not wanting to say

more

as she picked her

up

for that short ride

to the bus station.

She made her way

to the vending machines

all the sodas

where in those

old style machines

that only held

bottles,

their necks

sticking out

waiting for your deposit

before you could

yank them free.

She looked over

all the flavors

and finally decided on

“Cactus Cooler”

she had never

tried it before

and it seemed

quite appropriate

for her

current location.

She digs around

her backpack

searching for some

spare change

and drops it into

the coin slot

making a very

unique sound

as the coins hit

their final resting

point.

She grabbed hold of

the refrigerated neck

of the bottle

and gave a

frim tug

to free it

from the mechanical

yoke

that was holding it

she popped off

the cap

using the machine’s

built-in bottle opener

and took a

moment

to look at the

logo on the bottle

which is a

orange and yellow

desert sky

she holds it up to

the desert horizon

and compares the two

nodding her approval

before taking

a long refreshing drink.

She walks towards

a little girl

of five or six

who’s bent over

staring at something

on the ground

her mother

keeping a watchful eye

on her

from the shaded steps

of the building

the day

already much too hot

to try and keep up

with the explorations

of her little girl.

As she got closer

she could see

what it was

that had

the little girl’s

attention

it was a lizard

an ugly looking one

kind of flat

with ruff

bumpy skin.

The little girl

looked at her

and smiled

pointed down at

her big discovery

and said

“Baby dinosaur”

and before

she could reply

it darted towards

the little girl

causing her to scream

and run for “Ma Ma”.

The driver

hit the horn

signaling it’s time

to re-board the bus

as she jumps between

the little girl and the lizard

then watches the lizard

disappear under a bush

and makes her way

back to the

vending machines

and puts her

now empty bottle

in a rack

with all the other

empty bottles

then

keeping her head down

to avoid

the sun’s glare

she heads for the bus.

She wanted her friend

just to drop her

and her stuff

in front of the

bus station

but her friend

wasn’t having it

she pulled in

and parked the car

walked to the station

with her

each girl holding

one of the nylon straps

to the large duffle bag

between them.

She was hoping

to avoid

a tearful goodbye

just didn’t want to

start off

drained of emotion.

Both girls sat inside

on the hard

plastic chairs

talking about nothing

important

just time consuming

chit chat,

neither one

wanting to touch on

the subject of her

departure.

They both stopped

talking

when through the

large window

they saw a bus

pull up in front

with Los Angeles

showing as it’s

destination.

Both girls stood up

carried the large duffle

over to the driver

who stowed it

under the bus

her friend

broke the silence

with a

“Well”

“I guess this is it”

trying hard

to keep her composure

“OH”

“Don’t get sloppy on me”

“You’ll be down”

“To Visit”

“Right”

her friend

nodding yes

fighting to hold back

the tears

she’s really wanting

to let flow.

She gives her friend

half a hug

slings her backpack

over her left shoulder

and climbs the stairs

on to the bus

she takes a seat

looking down

on her friend

who’s standing there

with a dying smile

looking up at her

with this

something unsaid look

in her eyes

as a late arriving passenger

runs up to the bus,

the driver climbs down

from his chair

and takes his luggage

and begins to

stow it

under the bus,

but her friend’s

wanting eyes

are just too much

for her to ignore

she stands up

and starts to

get out of her seat

and as she does

she can see

through the window

the happiness

pouring out of

her friend’s face

as she makes her way

to her

and then

tightly hugs her

as both girls cry

and laugh

at the same time.

The driver slips past

the two girls

and boards the bus

not wanting to look

to closely at them

having seen this act

play out before

fearful

of what lies ahead

for this naive

young lady.

She pulls the front

of her shirt up

to wipe the dust

from her eyes

as she approaches

the bus

revealing her midriff

for the first time

to the California sun,

she boards

tries to get comfortable

in her all too familiar seat

when she feels

a pair of eyes

on her

she turns

expecting to see

that drunken navy man

that has been checking her out

since Nevada

but is pleasantly surprised

to see the little girl

standing their

with an out stretched hand

holding a very bruised

common desert flower

her mom speaks

“She thinks you saved her”

“From the baby dinosaur”

she gives the mom a nod

and a big hero smile

for the little girl

as she takes the desert rose

from the little girl

and puts it in her hair

the bashful little girl

just giggles and runs off

down the aisle to her seat.

She starts to feel the toll

from the numerous hours

on the road

she tries to get some sleep

just a few more hours

and she’ll roll-up on Hollywood

but the excitement

of the new start

and that non-stop

hum of fear

constantly living

in the back round

of her mind,

what if

she thinks

it doesn’t work out?

But that thought

trails off as she see’s

a mile marker for Hollywood

and the dreams of youth

push all her fears away

at least for the moment

and with her nose

pressed against the

vibrating glass

of the bus window

sleep begins

to take hold

for the first time

since walking out

her front door

with her backpack,

large duffle

and a need

for a major

location change.

She starts to wake up

and stops herself

from opening her eyes

not sure at first

where she’s waking up at

till the familiar smell

of that refrigerated air

is what reminds her

that she really did it

turned her plan

into an action,

she opened her eyes

sat up in her seat

and pulled out

a small

spiral notebook

with a black pen

sticking out

of the middle

of it

and opens it to

a dog eared page

that had a list,

on the top of

that page

with a header entitled

“Once in Hollywood”

and then

a numbered list

she looks down

at her list

at number 1 was

“Find a place to stay”

with a big asterisk

next to it

“Get a job”

at number 2

and then a bunch

of little things

that look like

they were added

just so she’d have

enough things

to constitute a list

and then the

very last item

written in was

“Get Sunglasses”

with a long line

taking it to

number three.

She had thought about

changing into

something sexy

in the bathroom

she wanted to

look Hot

when she stepped

off the bus

like in a rock video,

Mid-West girl

transformed into

Hot young starlet

as if just crossing

the California boarder

started the metamorphosis

and then pulling up

under the Hollywood sign

signaled the completion

of the transformation,

but she had forgotten

to take the clothes

and shoes

out of her duffle

at the last stop

which bothered her

less and less

as she got closer

she was tired

in need of a shower

and feeling

far from sexy

right now.

She looks back outside

so many cars

most with only

the driver in them

what a waste

she thinks

she continues

looking out the window

as the bus

pulls off the freeway

and on to the

surface streets

she’s looking around

trying to find

some kind of

famous landmarks

but everything outside

looks so average

to her

she leans over the aisle

to an older lady

quietly knitting

some sort of

long blue scarf

which seems strange

to her

being summer

and asks her

“This is Hollywood”

“Right?”

“Yes dear, it is”

the old lady says

without even looking up,

she looks back out

the window

then back at the old lady

notices the blue scarf

has big white letters

spelling out

“L.A. Dodgers”

And then asks

“I don’t see any stars”

“On the sidewalks”

“Or any famous streets”

the old lady looks up

“We’re in North Hollywood”

“Not West Hollywood”

“That’s a good”

”6 or 7 miles from here”

Damn,

I didn’t know there was

more than one Hollywood

she replies

as she starts to gather

all her stuff

as the driver calls out

“Next stop, Hollywood station”

not feeling the need

to add the “North” prefix

the bus rolling up

to a stop

she files off with

all the other passengers

waiting besides the bus

as the driver

sorts through the luggage

she watches him

wrestle free

her large duffle bag

and in a very

undramatic fashion

throw the large bag

at her feet

she grabs the bag

with one hand

starts by dragging it

only able to get it

off the ground

after picking up

a little forward momentum,

she hadn’t expected to

be dropped off

so far away from

Mann’s Chinese Theater

she looks around herself

once she reaches

the sidewalk

expecting something more

than just a lot of

average looking people

bustling around

trying to get on with

their average lives

she still couldn’t believe

she never checked

the distance from the

Greyhound bus station

to Mann’s on

Hollywood Blvd,

she starts walking down

West Magnolia Blvd

backpack

on her left shoulder

right arm

half carrying

half dragging

her oversized duffle

and even though

she is dead tired

her clothes

are sticking to

her body

and she has

never had

so much uncertainty

in her future

at any time

in her life

she just can’t help

but smile

as she

puts her head down

and slowly

makes her way

towards

Hollywood Boulevard…

 

Tom Allen…08-13-2017…

 

 

 

 

 


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