i see it coming closer. my anxiety rises as i scramble for my faux leather wallet. as it stops, the engines release a loud sigh, and the glass covered doors shimmy open with a creak. the bus driver looks towards me with a grin. his eyes crinkle softly and his mustache covers his top lip. i feel his eyes on my hand as i drop in $1.75 in the coin dispenser. he presses a button and a ticket pops out- almost cheerfully, as if it were living, and starting a new life.

i take the ticket, and hold the railing to walk towards a seat. the bus was quite empty. there was a group of skateboarders in the back, an old Chinese grandmother, and me. a typical 14 year old girl wearing TNA leggings, white converse, a crop top, and a brace face.

i take a seat across from the old lady. we made eye contact again, except this time she stares at my belly button and looks away in disgrace, as if thinking “teen’s nowadays.” the bus makes a sharp turn and her buggy tips over, spilling her groceries. a peach rolls by my foot so i bend down to grab it for her.

she looks at me, then the peach in my hand, and snatches it away, scowling in a foreign language. she sits back down and faces the window. i still see her gaze in the reflection. she reaches her frail hands towards a bright yellow wire and pulls it. “The next stop is, China Town”, says the automated voice of the bus.

the old woman stands up and trots to the exit door. She pushes against the plastic padding with her stained tennis shoes and the door opens.

to be continued


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