I stare at the computer screen. Sober. With the knowledge that for the last 4 years writing has only come after drinking. But I want to tell the story of The Night Bus.
Or should I say - The No Night Bus
1:25am and the streetcar arrives as I check my phone for its schedule
A paper sign on a station pole details the final route before the switch to night blue. Municipal taxes for computer paper and a depressing 1:34am when my cell reads 1:39
I say that there is a 24 hour night bus and the others say that it picks up on the street a couple of blocks away so I walk towards home enjoying the cool night air and soon find the strip of metal with 24hr on top and a strip of blue on the bottom
Pull down the sleeves of my thin shirt
Look for a ledge to lean but find a wall
Sharp pains in my stomach that I can't figure out
Stand while moving digital images with my fingers to make other digital images in the hopes of getting another digital image. (I play a game on my cell.)
Watch cars and lights and cabs
Listen to conversations from open windows
Walk to the edge to look into the distance
An exit from the cell phone game shows 2:09am and that the battery is dying.
It has become a case of wills. Too much time. Pride and the need to triumph. Watching others give in to taxis or turn swiftly and start walking away - fun to see at first but now upsets me - I will not give up. There is no snow. The weather is perfect for waiting. (I try to pull my sleeves down further and stuff my hands into my pockets. Goosebumps formed ages ago.) This is a city of transit and I grew up in a town with none.
-Slowly lower body down the wall
-Sit in a clear patch of concrete
-Bend legs in front
Find my book in my purse and read.
Time stops for a while.
When the 312 pulls up it is full. The door is not opening, though there is movement inside leading to the hope of space. The number of people gathered at my corner has grown considerably and even if the doors open I am now standing behind them all.
Two more turn on their heel and walk away.
I watch the bus leave and wait to cross the street
The walk is nicer then the waiting.
Clothes on mannequins. Chairs on top of tables.
For a brief moment as I pass, I see a man lean over to peer into a mirror inside a darkened barber shop.
-- I move to the curb
-- Raise my hand
-- And hail a cab
Spending my last $10 at 2:59am