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blank stare

By 11:37 PM

The bus stopped but she wouldn't get off. I saw her pull the cord and position herself at the back door, but when the bus stopped she froze too, as if her battery pack just died.

This is a big stop for bankers and businessmen. The bus usually deposits about half of the bus here and the girl was first in line to get out.

The person standing beside her was jiggling the handle, so I looked up from my book and instructed him to, "step down."

He did and open sesame, the door slapped outward.

The crowd pushed her forward and rather than stepping out of the bus, the girl held onto the pole and swung towards me like a saloon door. I was seated right there by the door so we had suddenly come face to face. Blank stare, not a trace of emotion. I gently pushed her away and said "Isn't this your stop?"

No reaction. Not even a blink of an eye or a headshake. It was downright spooky.

I had no idea what had transpired between pulling the cord and complete paralysis.

She turned into a mannequin, a corpse, a zombie. She looked me right in the eyes and didn't look away. She showed no anxiety, confusion, frenzy or distress. She demanded nothing from me or from this day. She was simply teetering on the steps of a commuter bus, at one of the busiest stops in the Financial District, while suits pushed her aside to get on with their morning.

She was so close to me I could have felt her breath. But I wasn't sure that she was even breathing.

"Are you OK?" I asked. Nothing.

I looked at the other riders around me and they had nothing to offer the current situation. I heard a couple of them call out "Hey". No reaction still. The back door closed and the bus started to move.

My stop was another two blocks away, but I chose to get up. She had stepped back into the bus and I thought she might land, faint or vomit on me. It was getting a little scary, so I offered her my seat.

"Do you want a seat?" I asked. Still nothing.

She didn't acknowledge the gesture but she stumbled right into the seat.

The elderly gentleman who sat next to me, was now sitting next to the mannequin. He looked up from his Sudoku more puzzled than before.

She slowly cradled her head and I looked away. It was an uncomfortable scene.

When the bus stopped at my corner, unlike the girl, I quickly jumped out.

Maybe she had vertigo, amnesia, an epileptic seizure. Or just plain out of her mind. I don't know how long she stayed on the bus that morning and whether or not she'd recognize her true destination that day.

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1 comments

  1. You would encounter many dramas — big or small — in the public transportation.
    Be inspired.

    ReplyDelete