John watches the snow outside the rear door of the bus flutter to the ground in fat white flakes. His frozen breath escapes in short bursts as he stands on the bottom step rubbing his hands
“You going or not, bud?” the driver says, twisting in his seat to see who is holding up his route.
Raising his head, John’s face is pale. The driver taps his thick fingers against the steering wheel.
“Hey buddy, are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m good. The snow’s coming down pretty hard, isn’t it? I have another bus to wait for in this mess.”
“Look, I gotta get going cause there’s people waiting to get places, ya know?”
John surveys the empty bus and half smiles at the driver. “’There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go.’ Have you ever read Tennessee Williams? My wife loved his
“I don’t wanna be rude here buddy, but I really gotta take off. If you don’t wanna miss your next bus, I suggest you get off this one.”
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right.”
John hunches his shoulders against the wind and steps off the bus into the bitter cold. He shoves his hands deep into the pockets of his wool coat while shuffling toward the bench inside the glass
bus shelter, dragging his feet in the snow as he walks.
Slumping onto the metal seat, John spots the lemon yellow silk scarf lying on the bench next to him. His fingers flutter over it as he closes his eyes.
“I’m here Liz,” he says cupping the scarf in his hands. “Help me remember you.”
John lifts it up to his face and breathes it in. The heady aroma of jasmine takes him back to her.
Liz taps her foot, waiting by the curb for the bus to arrive. Fat snowflakes stick to her hair turning it a deeper shade of red as they melt.She would never have the chance to take refuge under the
bus shelter, because the city would not build it for another three years.
“I should’ve brought my scarf.” she mumbles, shaking out her curls.
John reaches forward, rushing out into the snow. He takes hold of her shoulders, and Liz struggles against his grasp.
“Don’t go.” John pleads, as he turns her around and leans closer to brush back the wet curls flopping around her face.
Liz’s cheeks flush a deep red. The remarkable shade spreads a splendid radiant heat throughout his body.
“John? What are you doing here?”
“I’ve been riding the bus to this stop for a while now Liz. I always bring one of your silk scarves with me to leave on the bench in case the one I’ve already left is missing when I get here. I
make sure to spray it, just once, with your favorite jasmine perfume.”
John frowns when he catches the faint sound of an advancing engine. He strokes Liz’s sodden hair, leaning even closer.
Closing his eyes, John whispers, “’I shall but love thee better - after - death.’”
The pneumatic doors of the bus open with a whoosh. Shifting in his seat, the driver gawks at John.
“Yo!” The driver bellows from his seat.
John’s damp eyes open, revealing the large man behind the wheel, gaping down at him standing alone in the snow.
“It’s freezing out here guy. You goin’ my way or not?”
“Yeah… This is my bus. Sorry about that. Just give me a quick second.”
“Sure guy, but c’mon. I’m turnin into an ice cube over here.”
John hurries back into the bus shelter, and gently lays the lemon yellow scarf back onto the cold metal bench.
“’Death ... the opposite is desire.’ Sleep now Liz…until tomorrow.”
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