Summary: The old friends met on the bus, the boy wanted to go to his home after finished a full day lectured, the girl beside him wanted to make sure that he was her elementary schoolmate, but the girl fell asleep and disturbed the boy.
There was a billowing smoke beneath my head. It contained words, structures, and other things like that. I hope it wouldn’t evaporate in the dry season like this. Those feelings after you finished four lectures in a day, sleepy and hungry. You wanted to meet your buddy as soon as you came home, bedroom.
I was waiting for Damri. My bloody motorcycle was in the workshop. I kept cursing inside. Bloody motorcycle.
The sun smiled widely but it made my body cry. I put my headphone on. But the hell my phone was run out of battery. I kept it on my ears, though.
I was waiting for twenty minutes. Oh there was a bus coming! But it was Elang. I waited again. I felt bored, hungry, and sleepy. Twenty minutes later another bus was coming again. I looked at it. Poor me! It was Elang again, so I waited for another thirty minutes.
Finally the bus arrived. The last time I went home by bus was a year ago. I was a freshman at the time. The bus was pretty crowded, but thank God I had a seat near the window. I still wore my headphone. No used, though, so I picked up my novel from my bag and started to read. I needed to finish this novel by the day after tomorrow. Well, happy reading.
“I wanna have a seat!” I said to myself.
By the time I arrived at the PangkalanDamri, the bus was already there. I was afraid that I had to stand up all the way to Bandung.
The bus smelled as usual. It was like a perfume shop. Surely I could smell dozens of perfumes here, the sweetest until the natural one. You know what I mean.
Here I was, looking for an empty seat. There were two empty aisle seats.
“Cap…cip…cup…cap…cip…cup…” I used my magical spell.
Okay then, I found the answer. My magical spell told me to sit on the right aisle.
“Fiuuhh,” I was so tired.
They boy who was sitting right next to me was staring at my eyes. I locked my big eyes on him too. He was gorgeous. It meant my spell worked very well. Magical me. I turned my head to the left aisle. It was a girl who was sitting there. I was the lucky one! I had this gorgeous dude beside me.
I stared at him again. He was wearing white headphone. He was reading a book. I came closer to see what kind of book he was reading. I couldn’t see it clearly, but I swore it was an English book. I didn’t speak English well.
Was he Andy? He used to be my schoolmate in elementary school. Oh My Gosh! It was Andy!!
I already read five pages when a girl sat beside me. Automatically I looked at her. She stared back at me with her big eyes. Her face was almost full of pimples. They were on her cheeks, forehead, and chin. Her yellow skin made them look redder. Her hair was completely messy. She wore a big red bandana.
Dude, it was dry season and she wore an overlarge sweater. “You better wear it on winter, girl.”
Never mind Andy.
I turned back to my book. I tried to concentrate.
Gee! I felt it! She still stared at me.
I shifted my eyes from my book and looked at her.
Was she Emma?
If so, she was my elementary schoolmate. I didn’t know that she went to the same university. I didn’t much keep in touch with my old fellas.
She recognized me, I supposed. She was about to open her mouth. It looked like she wanna hit me a word. But I wasn’t in my mood to have a chat. I turned back to my book. I was busy, sorry Em.
Yes! I was right. It was Andy. I wanted to make some conversation with him, but my eyes wanted to have a rest. Gee! It was Andy. He changed a lot, too gorgeous, too hot. I wanted to talk about our funny moment together back then in elementary school. I wanted to talk about music, movies, and what else? Talk about college assignments? Live in college? Oh no please! Just a humorous one.
Let me remember about our days in elementary school. He was cute. I was cute too; at least that was what my mum said. He had a bunch of friends. I was not. He was quite fluent in English. I wasn’t. I was a math wiz. Hmmm…what about the humorous one?
Eureka! It was when I fell off the stairs and he was watching at me and laughing so hard. That was too humorous! Embarrassing! I wondered, was he still remembering that? If so, this one would lead us into the next level of conversation. Everything at least had a consequence, so did with this shitty story. But if it worked, I would like to ask Andy’s phone number.
I felt my eyes had only five watts left.
But I encouraged myself and patted him on his shoulder.
“Hi! Are ya Andy? It’s me Emma, your schoolmate in elementary school. D’ya still remember me?”
He smiled at me. I melted.
“Oh hi Emma! It’s nice to meet you here. By the way, long time no see.”
“Nice to meet ya too. How’re ya doin’?”
“I’m pretty good. How ‘bout you?”
It was a cheesy conversation, bloody mainstream. I bet you hate this kind of conversation.
“What are ya majorin’ in?”
“Mathematics, you know Imma math wiz. I love math badly.”
He didn’t give any response to me, bloody cheesy conversation.
We stopped talking. I was trying to remember our funny stories. But I didn’t wanna tell that one. I remembered that he was laughing hard at me until his face turned red.
I saw he was reading a novel.
“Ya like readin’?”
“Very much.” He said coldly. His eyes were still on his book. Well, I didn’t read fiction much. I didn’t have any idea and books reference to hit him a topic.
“D’ya still keep in touch with elementary friends?”
“Me too, kinda busy with college stuff, eh?”
He smelled like chocolate. It reminded me into food. I remembered I hadn’t had a lunch.
“Umm by the way, does your mum still sell pastry?”
“Yeah. Oh wait.”
He opened his bag. “Wanna some?” he asked.
I wanted it all. I want it all!
“Thank you. Your mum is the best!” I swallowed a piece of soft chocolate bread. It was really nice. The bread was covered with chocolate. It also filled with vanilla cream which was so good. Oh I couldn’t stop. All the mixed of chocolate and vanilla collided in my mouth. I still wanted it. I licked my fingers. The chocolate tasted a little salty. I looked at Andy, no no I meant to his bread.
“You still want it?” he asked.
He gave his to me. I smiled and swallowed again, with happiness.
I read 10 pages already. I felt my shoulder become heavier. I looked at it. Gosh! She slept against my shoulder. Gosh!
I tried to put away her head from my shoulder. It worked for about five seconds before she slept against my shoulder again. I took a deep breath. I tried to concentrate with my book, but I couldn’t.
It was okay if she only slept there. She was sneering and it was disgusting. I was wondering how long I would be trapped here with Emma. Why this freeway took so long.
I stared at her automatically.
What? Was she laughing?
She was mumbling on her own created language. What!
I tried to put away her head off again. Thank God it worked now.
There was a smelly liquid. She marked my new jacket with her saliva. NO!
The bus turned aside. And yeah this was my bad luck day, the series of unfortunate events. The liquid from the air conditioner fell on me. Now my jacket had two marks, Emma’s saliva on my left and the liquid from the air conditioner on my right. Ha. Pretty awesome!
I heard her stomach crawling.
“Mmmm…chocolate bread. It tastes really good.”
I swore she was dreaming of eating chocolate bread.
Now I succeeded in getting her head away from my shoulder. But her saliva stained bigger on my jacket.
She was still mumbling in her own created language and it was so annoying.
I couldn’t read my book and I couldn’t sleep.
Well, home was still a long way away.
“Thanks Andy for the chocolate bread, and thanks to your mum also,” I said to him.
“Yeah, no problem.”
“Can I have your phone number?”
“Sure you can, but wait let me see it first on my phone.”
“Here is mine,” I said in excitement.
“Okay, here is 0821…..”
I saw at Andy. He was the one who said “excuse me”.
“Oh, okay sorry.” I woke from my seat to let him walk.
I still felt sleepy. I was about to sleep again.
I JUST REALIZED THAT I HAD MISSED MY STOP!
Thanks to my mum for lending me her camera. Thanks to my aunt for your inspiration in making the dramatization. Thanks to my sister, Alifia, for helping me in drawing some of the characters. Thanks to Riani Amanatillah for correcting my grammar and the idea of putting the curtain on the bus. Thanks to Dini Nurdiani Rahman for our experience on the bus. Thanks to Fitri Novianti and Ade Maria Partiani for being my proof reader, and the last but not least, thanks to the random strangers on the bus who gave me the inspiration in writing this story.
1. My experience on the bus.
2. Rowell, Rainbow (2013). Eleanor and Park. New York, NY: St. Martin.
3. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
4. Salinger, J. D. (1951). The Cather in the Rye. New York, NY: Little, Brown.
1. Hyperfun by Kevin MacLeod
2. Daily Beetle by Kevin MacLeod ft. Brett VanDonsel
3. Life of Riley by Kevin MacLeod
4. Marty Gots a Plan by Kevin MacLeod
Word count: 1.552 words
Dramatization link: http://youtu.be/uPYugrvNsUA