Literary Vancouver #1
The # 6
She stared at the girl staring at her phone. She was pretty enough, likely in her mid-twenties and sat near the middle left of the bus; the odd part where people are forced to face one another. Not that they’d look at anyway. She’s missing out on the world, Laurie thought as she broke her gaze and focused on the courtesy seat signs across the aisle from her. She was on of the people deemed old enough for to be given unchallenged priority The distinction was less honouring than she had thought.
Laurie’s acceptably worn out, cobalt blue jacket was almost too warm for the looming spring weather. It was taking the longest to arrive that should could remember. Not to worry though. Eventually, spring must come after all. The magnolias and cherry blossoms who were too eager found their hubris punished with rain and winds heavy as November. The grey of the city, in which she usually found beauty, was beginning to wear at her.
Looking back up at the girl, she watched her thumb scrolling the screen over and over. A focused but far away look in her eyes. God, they’re all going to destroy their thumbs.
Tess zoomed in on a picture of a another tragedy. Another news clip featuring a despair of humanity too terrible to really understand. If she let her mind linger to long on what actually went down, she couldn’t focus on the world in front of her, and she had to ace that presentation at work tomorrow.
What they hell are these people supposed to do?
How can we live in the same world?
What about when they get their periods?
She sighed.The bus wasn’t too full, so she stretched her legs out a bit and sank deeper in the blue, carpeted seat. Opening up their group message, she texted her mom and sister, citing the most recent horror in the middle of the world. She wanted to acknowledge it before the next one undoubtedly happens and effectively numbs her even more.
She had a professor once who was adamant about bearing witness. A kind spirited woman with curly red hair and dresses reminiscent of a 4th grade art teacher. Kind of like the Ms. Frizzle of peace and conflict studies.
She emailed her students a year after Tess left for UBC and thanked them for their warm hearts. She had been diagnosed with cancer, but asked them to remember that the world is beautiful. Tess wasn’t so sure. She straightened up, readying herself to hop off.
Laurie’s stop was coming up. She asked the man standing in front of her to pull the string. It took her longer and longer to get off each time. Stepping off the front of the bus, she caught a glimpse of the girl with her face in her phone, ignorant of the pink petals caught in her hair.