This day was no different. The gray clouds omitted a harsh white light through the windows and the godawful smell of body odor and sickness rose up from the seats. I shifted my weight in my own plastic chair, balancing grocery bags between my legs. The other riders kept to themselves as I did – staring blankly out the window at a world that I still couldn’t grasp after twenty years. I wiggled my toes in my boots, feeling the bones move in motion. The yellow lines on the road ticked away the time too rapidly to catch yet so slow that my fluttering heart almost bounced right out of my throat.
A middle-aged woman sat in the front row incoherently mumbling loud enough to cause a disturbance amongst the passengers. Her voice was raspy and shrill. Her boy was contorted in angst, aching to burst out. She shrieked and someone yelled at her to shut up. That was when she cried out that she needed to go to the hospital.
My eyes were wide as I watched this woman in the midst of a psychotic breakdown. My breath sharpened, my personal bubble upset as others started reacting. The driver pulled over. The whole bus was in upset. Someone needed to pick up their kid from elementary school, another was late for a very important meeting. I just wanted to get home to put my groceries away and hide under my pink quilt.
The poor bus driver was on his radio calling for an ambulance. The woman, hearing what he was doing, attempted to pull herself together. She begged for it to not happen. Getting in an upright position after being sprawled across two seats, the woman told the driver that she didn’t need to go anymore. Her obvious internal conflict further frustrated the other riders. Some woman got up, yelled at her for being selfish, and left the bus. I had to hold in my tears as I told the driver to keep the ambulance coming. Close enough to home to walk, I wished him good luck and left. I was shaking. My grocery bags hung ridiculously heavy from my thin white fingers as I stumbled the rest of the way home.
I finally found myself in the elevator, defeated. I tried to call my mom but it went straight to voicemail. Once in my messy little kitchen, alone and quiet, I slowly put away my groceries in their respective places and curled up on the couch. The heavy air pressed against my chest as I receded into myself and drifted off into a restless sleep.