Here’s the third installment of my morning commute bus stories. It’s always funny, the stories that erupt when you sit somewhere that has as much magnetic stimualtion as a San Francisco Muni during commuter hours, and just start writing. I hope you’re enjoying these. Longer to shortly follow.
Stories in Motion
School Crossing, Kelby read like a spotlight’s splash, flinching at the knowledge. It whispered in the wind, but screeched as it came out of every mouth within earshot. And the only two discernable syllables were Stoo and Pid. Funny, she thought. How those with money enough to go to a school in this neighborhood seem to also have enough to buy their freedom from concern. As the idea lingered above her head, two girls in the garb of their own standard setting walked past her. Not by direction so much as intent, like having less obstacles in the same stream. Maybe they were further from the surface then they thought. The edges most defined by, well, Kelby figured it being that she at least knew what she didn’t know. The other two only seemed to establish the sounds of their own voices as relevant. Alone but propped up by something that had always been there for them.
“Well,” Kelby whispered, feeling unconcerned with her invisibility. “May she without a mirror feel free to throw stones.”
The girls stopped and turned.
“Excuse me?” the tall one said.
Kelby waited, her mouth thinking to open before it was stopped in its tracks by a voice that had sprouted wings right beside her. “Better keep steppin, Amy,” as the girl passed Kelby, practically walking in the street like she wore invisible armor. “All I said was that I wish you talked to me,” the alleged Amy responded, the tall one. A car drove by and a dog barked from the back seat. Kelby seemed to notice it alone.
Just as the newcomer stepped up to the other two, the Amy one turned to resume her walk and Kelby watched as her backpack hit the newbie right in the face, allowing illustration to a hierarchy. And big personality at the cockpit of a little body.
“Excuse you!” the small one gasped.
“You’re excused,” Amy said, and they all walked off fast enough to dissipate their aggression, which trailed like kite string. Their sashaying language said to Kelby that the hatred was friendly. She kept walking as the girls turned into the grounds of the high school that looked more decadent than Kelby’s own University had been. She kept walking, feeling that at any moment she would be ousted for carrying the persona she wore in this recently facelifted neighborhood. Where even a backpack face-check wasn’t grounds to throw blows. Even the cracks in the sidewalk seemed placed and privileged.
Kelby kept moving and the wind began to hurry her steps, while she felt less and less separable. The air seemed to gain warmth with urgency and for the first time, Kelby watched the world around her. The gusts creating a song that whistled through the hair that waterfell over her ears.
The buildings morphed, they grew, then dissolved as she found herself again, right back where she’d once pitied, then stood not above but beyond. Now she heard two more girls talking, using words that she recognized but now had different tints to their reflections. “Look at her wig,” a girl said.
“Is it a wig or a weave?”
“Either way, she looks beautiful.”
“Yep. We need to tell her too. All us girls need to help one another grow wings. It’s rough out there for a lady.”
Kelby looked at the high school again as she passed. It was now gated and trapped. Or maybe protected. She looked at a bike on the corner. It’s still there, she thought. Sad. And just then the wind picked up again, drifting over her the essence of roses. Roses that had been woven into the bike’s spokes. And painted on the frame in a timed hand were the words, RIP Kelby. Words that tasted familiar of that corner with the scent of roses and difference. Kelby rested as she rode on the wind.