Ode To The Fung Wah Bus Line

26 Feb
The bus bounced twice, and on the second bounce the glass behind me shattered and was followed by a woman’s shrill scream. We looked behind us, expecting a woman covered in blood like Carrie after her prom, but only saw a very confused bloodless woman who was, thankfully, only covered with bits of glass.The bus driver, a man in his fifties with a bushy white mustache, pulled to the side of the freeway and walked back towards the woman.

“Okay okay, it’ll be alright, what happened?’

They exchanged words but neither of them could be clear as to what happened. In the moment of panic it was unclear whether the frames on the bus had broken the window pane, or whether someone had fired a gun into the bus. Any tragedy seemed possible in that heart-thumping night in that slice of freeway between New York and Boston.

“It’ll be okay, but there are no reserve buses right now and we can’t turn back,” said the Bus Driver, looking to us with the same expression we looked to him, with eyes full of remorse and doubt.

“We could clean this up?” The bus driver suggested to the crowd.

A few people on the front row nodded and said, “we have newspapers!”

The bus driver went and collected the newspapers while the woman covered in glass cleaned herself off in silence. It was clear to me that she wanted to scream, to shout, to talk to mid-managers and managers, but she couldn’t, none of us could, we were on the Fung Wah Bus and had paid around $20 for this trip. We knew the hell we had signed up for, and we suffered it in silence.

The bus driver walked back and taped over the hole in the window with newspapers as the remaining bits of glass crunched underneath the grey sheet. We passed newspapers from the front row, to the middle row, to the back. The woman covered in glass moved out of her seat, visibly shaken, the bus driver took pity on her and said, in his old voice ragged with frustration:

“Anyone want to switch seats with her?”

We shrunk at his words, cowards. He could sense the tension in the bus, and he attempted to appeal to our lack of manhood.

“Come on? Who’s man enough to sit by this lady?”

This only confused us. We were from New York, none of us gentlemen of that sort. Many of us were gay, with some butch lesbians, some street hoods, and mostly tourists from Boston.

“I’ll do it, man, I’ll sit there” said a youth in a voice that, otherwise, would have sounded courageous, but was only a yelp within the darkness of the bus, like a war cry in the heart of a lonely abyss.

He sat in her chair under the grey of the blown out window.  The bus driver returned to his seat.  The bus pulled out of the side of the freeway, continuing to bounce, with the rattling of its windows inspiring our deepest fears. Which glass would shatter next? We didn’t know.

We knew the hell we signed up for though, and the bus rolled along.

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