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Bus Ride

by EternalRain


She sits next to me on the bus. She has quite a pretty smile, and has hair that goes down past her shoulders. I don’t talk to her and just look out the window instead. I don’t know why she is sitting next to me. Not really. She doesn’t say anything and pulls out a book about bunnies or something. I’m not really paying attention and I don’t really care. I wish she hadn’t sat next to me. Then I could stretch my legs out. I hate the bus ride to school.

Her hair is shorter now. She got it cut over summer. It looks okay. This year we have English together. I only know this because I saw her scanning her schedule. She seemed pretty nervous. I probably won’t talk to her in class because we still don’t talk on the bus. I sometimes wish she sat somewhere else, so I could stretch my legs out. It is nice to have company, though. None of my friends take this bus.

For the start of junior high she dyed the ends of her hair blue. It’s a pretty color, but I’m sure how much I like it. She sits down next to me again, reading a book about dragons. If I like reading I would have asked if it was any good and if I should get it, because I do like dragons. I don’t though. Instead I stare out the window and wonder if we’re going to have classes together this year. I’m not ready for junior high, at all.

Her hair is done up in a knotted braid for the first day of school, with those hair wispies girls like to pull out to frame their face. She’s made some new friends over the summer that take our bus. So she doesn’t sit next to me on the bus, but instead next to Marie, who likes wearing bows in her hair and batting her eyelashes at boys. She says she’d sit here tomorrow. Okay. I don’t really need to stretch out my legs today, even though there's space. She’s talking to Marie about something instead of reading and I wonder what book she has in her backpack. I still don’t like reading though.

Her hair is just past her shoulders again, and I notice how the ends curl a little. It smells good too, but of course I don’t say anything and instead tilt my head every once in a while so I can catch the scent. Marie sits at the back of the bus with her other friends, so she sits next to me. I don’t know if they’re still friends. She doesn’t say anything, like usual, but she taps her fingers on her knee as if there’s imaginary music playing. I glance away and stare out the window, then look back. She pulls out a new book, one with gilded gold edges, and I ask if she’s enjoying it. She shrugs and says it’s decent and at least it makes the world quieter. I say okay and look back out the window.

Would you like to borrow a book? She asks the next year with inquisitive eyes. I tell her I don’t read and she harrumphs as if that’s the worst thing in the world. I still think about how she said it makes the world quieter. I disagree. I ask what happened to Marie because I still don’t know why they’re not friends anymore. She doesn’t say anything, just examines her nails. They’re perfectly done, with a nice purple paint and a shiny glaze. Where are your friends? She asks instead. I tell her they’re not on this bus. How come I don’t see them at school? She asks. I tell her Sam moved away two years ago. So you don’t have any friends? She asks. I don’t know how this switched to me. I don’t respond and watch out the window as we whizz by trees. For a second, I considered her my friend, but then I realize how much I truly don’t know about her; I know her hair changes every summer and she’s got a pretty smile and she loves to read but that’s truly about it. I wonder if she considers me her friend.

The last year of high school she cut her hair really short, shorter than it’s ever been. I ask her on the bus why she did it. She says her sister accidentally cut her own hair and the barber had to cut it really short to fix it so she cut hers too, in solidarity. I tell her I think it looks quite nice, because it does. She shrugs and pulls out a book, and then a second for me. It’s the one she said was decent, and at least makes the world quieter. I don’t like to read but I open it and start reading anyway. The world feels quite louder reading the soup of words, but I don’t want to stop reading because she’s sitting right there probably watching me. I can see her hand out of my side vision and notice her bitten nails: they’re no longer neat and tidy glossy purple. Aren’t you going to read your book? She asks me, looking up. I ask if she remembers that I told her I don’t like reading, and she says yes I do. I don’t know what to say then so I look out the window. Last year, huh? She says and I can hear her smile. I shrug. She pokes my arm and says you can keep the book even though you don’t like reading. For memories. I turn around at that and see her pretty hair curled by her nose and her bright eyes smiling and I say okay, sure, thanks.


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Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:39 am
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AHugeNerd wrote a review...



Hey! This is my first review, so apologies if it’s a bit messy! I overall love this story. The tone is really playful, and it really made me smile. In my opinion, you did great with more subtle characterization that make the characters seem more realistic. Even if it’s simple things like the girl’s hair or nails, or the narration that the MC provides. The only thing that bothered me was the formatting when the dialogue was introduced between them. I personally really need dialogue tags, but I understand it may have been a conscious choice. If so, maybe consider putting the dialogue into italics to at least somewhat distinguish it from the rest of the MC’s narration.

Again, I feel like this is really amazing! Continue writing! Have an amazing day!




EternalRain says...


Thanks so much for your review! And welcome to YWS :D

Yeah, the dialogue thing was a choice but I'm realizing how hard it is to read (someone else commented on that!) so I might go back and change it. I really like your idea of putting it in italics. Thanks :D



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Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:34 pm
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Fishr wrote a review...



Hi there!

I have to say, the narration was intriguing. The way the MC’s indifference to the classmate constantly wanting to sit next to them, gave me a little chuckle. At the same time, the MC wishes their visitor sharing the same seat would buzz off so they had more leg room, was presented well through their emotions.

We get the sense the person on the bus reads to probably relieve their stress and anxiety. We can almost assume this is true because the MC points out purple fingertips, aka, biting of the nails down to raw flesh. The person finds such joy with reading, they want to share it with the MC, but when they remind them constantly they hate it, the person thinks the MC just stabbed them in the heart. Another chuckle from me. Heh.

Overall, the tone is childish, but not so much it doesn’t reflect that we’re reading about two teenagers in high school. The narration is perfect conveying the description of angsty teens.

Thank you for sharing.




EternalRain says...


Thank you so much for your review!:)



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Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:11 am
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Tawsif wrote a review...



First of all, I actually wanted to give a full-length review, but somehow that comment got posted. Anyway, I'll review it now.

I like the tone of the story. The MC is narrating the story in a not-so-serious way. It's interesting. It gives the story the air of unsureness a good romantic story needs. After all, unsureness, nervousness are the most engaging part in romance.
'I don’t really need to stretch out my legs today, even though there's space.'
I like this line so much. The MC previously wanted to stretch out his legs, but now he wants the opposite. Amazing!

This felt like a really true story. I loved it, and will love to read more from you.

KEEP WRITING.




EternalRain says...


Thank you so much!! I am really really glad you got the genuine and authentic vibe from the story :)



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Sat Apr 11, 2020 2:36 pm
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whatchamacallit wrote a review...



Hello Rain!

I thought I'd return you the favour of a review.

This is a really sweet, innocent story. The writing style is a bit childish, which reflects the innocence and youth (and I think you also said you wrote this a while ago?), so I won't give too many comments on the style and vocabulary.

The first thing I want to mention is the conversations, which aren't in quotes. I get how each year/bus ride there's a new paragraph, so it doesn't really work to create new lines for each quote, but I would personally still use quotation marks. I think it's a bit of a style thing in this case, but I find it a lot easier to read a conversation when quotation marks are used. That's just my opinion, though, and it is up to you.

Below are some nitpicks about grammar and wording.

She sits next to me on the bus. She has quite a pretty smile, and has hair that goes down past her shoulders.

The second has is a little bit repetitive and unnecessary.

I don’t talk to her and just look out the window instead. I don’t know why she is sitting next to me. Not really.

Try and change the wording so there's less repetition with I don't

Her hair is done up in a knotted braid for the first day of school, with those hair wispies girls like to pull out to frame their face.

Technically, wispies isn't a word. If you care, you could change it to wisps of hair.

She’s made some new friends over the summer that take our bus. So she doesn’t sit next to me on the bus, but instead next to Marie, who likes wearing bows in her hair and batting her eyelashes at boys. She says she’d sit here tomorrow. Okay. I don’t really need to stretch out my legs today, even though there's space. She’s talking to Marie about something instead of reading and I wonder what book she has in her backpack. I still don’t like reading though.

To keep everything in the present, I would change she'd to she will. Also, you need a comma after reading and before though.

I ask what happened to Marie because I still don’t know why they’re not friends anymore. She doesn’t say anything, just examines her nails.

Technically, you need an and or but before just, but it could be you want an informal feel to the story, so that's up to you.

That's it for my review; I really liked the story, and you can of course ignore my nitpicks if they aren't helpful.

Keep writing!

Whatchamacallit




EternalRain says...


hey!! Thanks so much for this review. I appreciate your thoughts! I am going to go back and do some grammar editing, thanks for pointing those little errors out :)





you're welcome :]



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Sat Apr 11, 2020 4:59 am
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Tawsif says...



Romantic stories always engage me. And this one was a good romantic story. Good job!

I like tI don’t really need to stretch out my legs
Q
today, even though there's space.




EternalRain says...


Aw thank you so much!



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Sat Apr 11, 2020 4:00 am
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Lia5Giba wrote a review...



Hello! This is a good short story. I like it a lot. The relationship between the two main characters is something not often examined, so I'm glad you did it here. It's really neat to see them grow up, see the boy experience insecurity and experience his thoughts.

I really did like this. I think although it's not explicitly framed out, you characterize the girl and the boy very well. The girl you get a feel for, and based on her hairstyles you can infer something about her. When she has the messy bun, you can infer that she might have gotten into trends that year, and that was why she and Marie became friends. When she got her hair cut short out of "solidarity", you realize that she might be slightly headstrong, and even loyal to her family. She obviously likes to read, and seems to be kind of social.

The boy is also characterized well through his interactions with the girl. He doesn't talk to her much, so you might assume he's kind of introverted. This is supported by it being revealed that he doesn't have many friends, either. He doesn't like to read, so I bet he doesn't like studying or even school that much either. He has his own opinions, and he can be observant.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed how this played out. Oh, I wish that they had more time together! But of course, this is the end of this story. I feel like this is something he would write in a diary, or recount to a close best friend. Maybe they could have been friends. Maybe they could have been more. He doesn't know a lot about her. How many pages could she be hiding behind her cover? he might wonder. And that is what he is wondering, and what I end up wondering, too. I get melancholy vibes from this, like I'm out on a large porch or under a shady tree, soaking in the sunshine, melding into the world in limbo, between sleep and awake. And I am remembering the good high school days, the girl I sat on the bus with. They are good memories, ones that spread a slow smile over one's face, growing with warmth like a hint of sunlight.

On top of your story, the actual writing of it is also well done. It conveys the tone of a boy going through the years well, like memories. It adds to the atmosphere of the story.

One suggestion: Maybe put a distinction between each paragraph that says when each paragraph is happening. They could sometimes bleed together. After a while, I liked it, because it only added to the beautiful, reminiscing atmosphere of the piece. But it might be confusing, especially at first. Just maybe put a short little sentence topper stating the grade and the day, I don't know. That's up to you though.

And one last very minor thing (I think it's a typo):

For the start of junior high she dyed the ends of her hair blue. It’s a pretty color, but I’m sure how much I like it.

I'm a bit confused by that last part of the sentence. Perhaps you left a word out? Or maybe I'm just dumb.

All in all, this is a good story. A really good story. One that sends me back, really and truly. This relationship between the girl and the boy on the bus is one not often written about, but I'm glad you did. It's something I didn't think I needed or really realized was there until you brought it to light. :D




EternalRain says...


Thank you so much for your review!! I really appreciate your interpretations of the characters (spot on) and all your thoughts. And oops, yes, that was a typo haha. It is supposed to say %u201Cbut I%u2019m not sure how much I like it%u201D. Thanks for catching it!



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Sat Apr 11, 2020 3:27 am
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BhavyaMehta123 says...



Hi! This is not a review but just wanted to tell you I liked this. Some friendships are unique and this is a small story about one of them. I was constantly smiling as I was reading this story. It was short and simple but it was great.
Thank you for sharing this.
From: Bhavya




EternalRain says...


Thank you! I really appreciate your comment.





welcome!




The snow leopard is absolutely magnificent. It represents really what endangered species are all about.
— Jack Hanna