Sometimes it’s awkward to signal a bus driver you are waiting for another line, and that they don’t need to stop for you.
You wave your hands all so subtly not to come across as a cry for the bus to stop. You make that “sorry” face as if you, walking down the street with your new boyfriend, ran into your ex, and that breakup happened only 60 hours ago. “Sorry for not choosing you… you are great… you’re just not the one.”
Then the blinker is on. The bus is pulling over. This is bad. You double down on that frown and keep telling yourself that, now that the bus is metres away, the driver would probably be able to get what you meant for the entirety of the last 12 seconds. Of course the driver’s gonna see your subtly shaking head.
The bus comes to a full stop. The front door is right before you. You have prepared to say everything in your head out loud: “sorry but I’m waiting for the other line.” You refine the sentence, mincing out any unnecessary words. You wonder if it’s sufficient to stop at “Sorry.” Maybe you should couple that with a “good night,” but that would make the conversation overly mushy. You decide you’re good with just “Sorry.” Nobody’s gonna attach meaning to a word they hear a thousand times in a Canadian city.
You open your mouth. The word is stuck in your throat. You are appalled that the driver never looks your way. The sunglasses muffled all his facial expressions, but you can tell the apathy from the lack of head movement. Wait, who would wear sunglasses driving at night? Those are just patches of shadow from the streetlight casting on the trees. But one thing is for sure — the driver does not care about you. Not even a bit.
The rear door opens. Down walks a lady. And a guy. The driver looks up on the mirror to check if everyone got off, and that is the first time he’s ever moved his head. Suddenly you realize, the bus was never gonna stop for you. The driver never was going to stop because of you.
Within a fraction of a second, you clear your throat, desperately hiding your own awkwardness, which you confidently believed was the driver’s, 14 seconds ago. You let out another dry cough to make the first one look real. The driver doesn’t care. He looks away from the mirror, facial expression hidden under that patch of shadow.
He closes the front door shut, pulls out the bus, and leaves you staring at your toes in the yellow streetlight.