((I'm pulling a Dickens, Charles that is, and writting this in "chapters." He also go paid by the letter. Too bad i can pull off that part too.))
Near the back of the bus she sat staring out the window into the deep blackness and her own reflection. She wondered if she’d even be able to see anything if the fluorescent lights weren’t on. It wasn’t all that late; there was just that little outside. Mara got tired of trying to stare past herself so she lit her cigarette and exhaled the first puff at the “No Smoking” sign on the door in front of her. Not that it mattered to her, but there was no one else on the bus other than her and the driver.
When Mara boarded the bus he greeted her warmly in that instantly friendly way that she hated. You can’t act like someone’s friend without even knowing them, was always her thought. She simply gave him a bored look and he seemed to get the message. As she turned, Mara noticed the driver shaking his head with a look that said, “Same old story.”
“You in some kind of trouble?”
“What?” Mara replied.
“You’re runnin’ from something aint you? I figured you must be in some sort of trouble the way you break the rules like they aint there at all.”
This observation wasn’t new to Mara. It was true, she was a rule breaker. And if actions spoke louder than words her attitude was yelling, “Back off!”
“Well, what is it?”
“What is what?” Mara answered with obvious annoyance in her voice. Normally she would just tune out and ignore him, but something about this bus driver’s presence made her respond. Most people left her alone once they realized she was less than agreeable. For some reason this driver spoke like he already knew her and wasn’t putting up with her crap. Mara almost liked the fact that he was standing up to her. At the same time, it made her fight back a little more.
“What is it you runnin’ from?”
“I’m not running,” she lied. She didn’t like that he seemed to know so much about her already. And wasn’t afraid to say something either. “I’m just drawn to Happy Valley for it’s politics and great antique stores,” she added sarcastically.
He merely responded with that same look from before as he shook his head. Mara was relieved when he gave up. There was still an hour left till they arrived in Happy Valley and she couldn’t possibly stand having a conversation that long. So instead Mara sat and tried to think of nothing. Thinking about the future was a bad option; especially when she thought about the present.
Mara Massey was a 17 year old runaway fresh out of high school. She was an average student with no plans of attending college. She wasn’t athletic or talented. To the world, she was going nowhere. Mara saw herself as destined to be a sandwich maker. She was ok with that as long as people weren’t expecting more than a sandwich. At least, this is what Mara told herself. Really she had no dreams or aspirations, but still this feeling that she was supposed to do something. Something more than making sandwiches, that is. This feeling frustrated her more than people who claimed to be fans of Orange Street Circus without knowing their 4 album names and the album they recorded under a different band name.
Mara was no music guru. She didn’t play an instrument and was never in a band. And she never took a class on music, but boy did she listen to it. Constantly searching for new artists and memorizing band members, song names, album titles, and even years songs were released. You could call it her only passion, though it was hardly a passion. It was just something to pass the time.
The bus started to slow and Mara looked up to notice street lights. Finally, she had arrived in her nowhere town to be no one. It came to a halt and Mara grabbed her bags and trudged up the aisle. While heading to the door she realized she no longer knew what she wanted. Part of her couldn’t wait to get off the musty old bus and away from the driver who knew too much. Yet, all of a sudden Mara wasn’t so sure of what she was doing. Despite her new found inner turmoil she reached the door and began down the steps.
“Welcome to the start of the rest of your life,” Said the bus driver as he closed the door and pulled away. Mara was left standing under the streetlight at the bus stop with his words tumbling around in her already jumbled mind.
Welcome to the start of the rest of your life, she thought as she picked up her bags and headed to the flashing motel sign. The rest of your life…