Caught in rush hour we are passengers sardined in a transit bus lost in the slow moving skyline of luxury cars, SUVs, and semi-trucks with back plastered to seat I watch my fellow captives slowly peel away the silence of screeching tires I form a story out of their every yawn, stretch and glazed over glances.
A young woman, Kandi, but there is nothing sweet about her. Hair, the color of the horizon, bleeding down and pooling at her shoulders, while her days rest in dark streaks of black eyeliner. Her mouth swollen red and permanently cruel in a sneer. She scribbles out her rage onto tiny pieces of leftover napkins and gum wrappers. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of the jagged scars etched across her arms in a map of her journeys and dead ends, and I cant help but wonder if she is still lost.
A few seats down from her sat an older gentleman named Charles. His eyes yellowed with age and the wrinkles of his face marked each step he took. His lips only cracked when he thought of his son and his eyes only watered when he mention his wife’s name. He lost them both in the same year: one to sickness, and the other to someone’s carelessness. The month of February is when he sees their ghosts reflected in windows, standing in doorways. He can hear his son’s voice in the morning wind and smell his wife’s cooking in the night breezes, but with winter comes the spring then summer, when he can see his grandson, and see the reflections of his family within every one of the smiles.
Martha sat next to him cloaked in a heavy jacket and crowned in a burgundy hat. She rarely spoke, but said volume with her eyes. Scanning the smeared horizon, she fingered the cross weighting down her throat. The rumbling of the bus reminds her of family, hometown, friends, life before marriage, the pain, the addiction and finally the redemption. She volunteers at a downtown teen shelter, seeing herself in the mirrors of the young girls eyes. At night, she dreams of walking on syringes and she can see her daughter’s face and how she was taken away by greedy hands and wolfen mouths drooling out screams, oozing out desires. She prays everyday for the Lord to not forget her; not to lose her in the shuffle of the concrete city and congested skies.
The last rider was a youth shadowing the door, eyeing us quietly as music blared and apathy hung in chains, while anger peeked out from under sleeves in etchings of black and blue. He reminds me of the city. Compounded and cluttered, he hunched over in the corner. Littered in graffiti of company logos and his eyes faded with chemical smog. The skyline decorated his arms in jagged scars and his hands were worn, depreciating factories. Pain loitered at the corners of his mouth, and grief hung in jagged strings at the end of his jeans. Cold and hatred divided him into a patchwork of incomplete ideas lining the broken posture and scribbling upon his wrist. Lost, he wanders over us with his eyes, before hiding in the shadows of the door.
Caught in rush hour we are passengers sardined in a transit bus lost in the slow moving skyline of luxury cars, SUVs, and semi-trucks with back plastered to seat I watch my fellow captives slowly peel away the silence of screeching tires I form a story out of their every yawn, stretch and glazed over glances, but cant help but wonder if they look at me, swollen with a child and wonder my story, give me an identity, contemplate my name, or am I just another nameless captive on this bus.