The Last Time I Rode a Bus
by Brandon Cassel from Metropolitan Learning Center
Published in the 2007-2008 WITS Anthology I Once Was Young and Strong (Available for purchase)
The last time I rode the bus I was on my way home from spending the night out at a friend’s. I got on the bus; I was really tired because I don’t usually wake up this early. I saw an elderly woman who reeked of bodily excretion and beer. I don’t know if she was homeless or not, but either way the air was dense with the horrible odor. She refused to stop staring at me. The bus driver got off the bus at the Rose Quarter transit center to use the bathroom. He left me, her, and three other people on the bus. She got closer to me, seat by seat. I sit in the back of the bus all the time. I like how the seats heat up from the engine on the older buses, so on cold days I make sure to sit in the back. So I was kinda stuck. But I opened the window to dilute the smell. Also hoping that she would take the hint, I put my hand up over my nose. She didn’t look. But as soon as I took my hand away, she looked. Soon enough, she was only two seats away. All of a sudden her eyes opened really wide. She turned around and started to try to open the window next to her in a hurry. Soon she had opened the window. They don’t open much, only about four inches. She stuck her mouth out the window (I assume that her head didn’t fit) and vomited. At this point I was about to throw up myself, but I looked the other way and tried to think about my happy place. This was about two weeks ago, and I have not ridden the bus since.