back contents next November 24, 1999

There and Back Again

When I commute, I typically read or sleep, paying little attention to the people around me. My recent bouts of insomnia have increased the likelihood that I will sleep on the bus ride into New York City. Everytime I wake up, I look nervously around to see if anyone was staring or looking at me funny. I'm afraid that I'm snoring in my sleep.

Yesterday when I came home, the bus was unusually empty. It seems that I caught the lull of the evening at the right time. Typically, there are more people waiting for the bus than there are seats on it. When these backups occur during rush hour, the bus company have the buses leaving every 10 minutes. When one finisihes loading, it backs away from the gate and speeds off as another pulls up into its place to continue filling in the next group of passengers. It just so happens that there were fewer people waiting for the bus and I managed to get two seats all to myself. Yippie! This happens to me more in the morning than in the evenings.

When I've got two seats to myself, I typically sprawl myself over both of them, basking in the luxury of having two full seats to myself. This is prime sleeping time. However, my mind was wandering yesterday evening. No real subject occupied my mind: it was real woolgathering. Then I spotted her.

She sat in two seats on the other side of the bus by herself. The seats are slightly staggered so I could easily observe her without looking too conspicuous and she would have to turn her head greater than 90 degrees to see me.

She was very beautiful. Her skin and features were very modelesque. Her nose slightly pointy and it gave her face a very forceful appearance. She looked soft but had an innate strong appearance that, I could imagine, could easily capture a crowd when she walked in the room. She had blonde hair, which was unsual for me. I typically do not find blondes attractive but she was one of the few exceptions.

She wore a formal outfit with a knee-length skirt that showed off a shapely calf. Her purse, a plain but classy-looking thing, sat in the seat next to her. She was flipping through a home appliances/furnishing/housewares/fixin's magazine that I sadly did not catch the title for. I kept staring at it, hoping that she would turn it in a way that I could read the title. My mind foolishly thought that, if I could just know the title, I could get it too and groom a similar sense of sophistication. I know it's futile, though. I don't have the willpower to groom myself that well, as appearance is low on my "must do" list.

What I found most interesting about the woman was the way she carried herself. Her long fingers would turn the pages of her magazine in an amazingly fluid motion. It was as if she was in a choreographed dance. Every motion, every blink of her lashes was part of this dance. It was fascinating to watch. I am a person with very poor physical skills. I am kinetically inept. I will often trip over myself or my clothes. When I round corners, I will typically slam my foot into the walls. I am very unaware of where my body is in space, sometimes... or how far other people or objects are from me.

After several nervous moments of watching the woman directly, I turned my head to look outside the window of the bus. It was dark outside and the lights inside the bus easily reflected in the black glass. I could see her reflected in the window. Her reading light illuminated her face. Her hand flicked back a strand of hair from her face, she wriggled in her seat slightly and adjusted the balance of the magazine in her hands. I watched her in the glass. I put out my hand and stroked the window's cool surface, my finger tracing the outline of her long hair. I watched her this way for a long time.

My stop came soon and as I stepped off the bus and looked back at it, I saw her looking out the window, past me. I wonder if she saw me or knew that I was watching her. I wonder if I will see her again on the bus sometime. I'm starting to see more familiar faces during my commute, but the majority are still strangers.


Today, my sister and her friend, Ann Sophie, came down from Wellesley. They took a bus from Port Authority over to my work to drop off their bags so that they wouldn't be burdened with them as they made their way around midtown. It was very good to see Els again. She'll looking a lot huskier and her broad shoulders are far more defined ever since she's started working out. She definitely has far more mannish features than I do. Watching her, I fear the tables are going to be turned from when I was in high school. My short-cropped hair would get my father calling my his "son" and once, someone told Els that she had "a creepy brother". Now, I think it will be the other way around, me with my obviously womanly curves and Els with a masculine buzz cut and board shoulders.

Ann Sophie was tallish and very hip in my mind. She's go a very youthful face but with adult mannerisms and poise. She gives the impression of being very worldly and travelled. She doesn't have a "been there, done that" attitude, but instead seems to have a wide breath of experiences and knowledge for someone her age. It's nice to know that Els has a good group of friends now that she's in college. A group with people like Ann Sophie who can add to her knowledge of the world and of people. Essentially, big sister gives her approval.

Our mother picked us up from my work, which was really great because I wasn't in the mood today for a commute home: I've got to work on Friday for 8 hours. I'm getting some extra pocket money with the holiday work (I plan on buying a DVD player with the extra dough), but the money is kind of immaterial since I've got to do the work anyway. Oh well.

I've got four days of abusing my digestive system in front of me and I intend to enjoy every moment of it, otherwise.


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© Copyright 1999 Eileene Coscolluela