Transit

A girl. A pretty girl on the bus, long dark hair, an Asianesque face, not remarkable in any way. I played at eyes with her until she got off. I get off at the end.
 
A transit center. A single street with glass boxes on either side. Cold metal benches. I never sit. People come and go, smokers cluster and disperse. The orange streetlight is not so bright that I cannot glimpse stars as I gaze up at the sky. This is the last bus home.


The first form of public transit was the Omnibus – a stagecoach modified for more people developed in the late 1830s. Omnibuses spared their riders some fatigue, but were not noticeably faster than walking, thus the next step, horse cars running on iron rails, was introduced. By 1853 they were running seven million riders in New York alone.
 
Class is over. I normally eat outside. It’s cold. Cloudy. I walk inside instead. The lunch-hall is empty save one girl about to sit down. Our eyes glance across. “May I eat with you?” Her voice is soft “Sure.”

I sit atop a building gazing at the night sky. I have a timer set to when I must return, and stand, and wait till the bus turns in. I stand and gaze over the lights of Sequim. Beautiful. Like reflected stars.

With the rise of the electric streetcar and the massive expenses required to operate them, “transit barons” began to appear. Their policy of packing the bus to maximize profits made them hated and proved disastrous when the automobile appeared.

At home I sit and draw as my father reads aloud by candlelight. Pale flickering warmth on my fingertips as worlds appear at pencil’s end. We are reading the scarlet letter. A bleak world. Still, I am warm.

I’ve stashed a wooden sword in the bushes. The time has changed and it’s lighter earlier now. I can’t risk climbing public buildings so I stand near the bus stop and spin a sword. People look oddly. I enjoy that.

World War I coincided with the automobile to give transit its deathblow. The companies previous oath not raise bus fare above a nickel – with post-war inflation - doomed them. At the same time, government subsidized gas was becoming affordable. People began to drive, and previously mighty companies fell. City governments took over across the country and established publicly owned transit in 1953.

My girlfriend breaks with me, a lightning fast affair. I stand shocked at the end of it. Still loving, heart broken. The girl takes it upon herself to keep me sane. We walk in the woods admiring sculptures of stone and steel. I appreciate her kindness, I can almost forget. I think I could almost love her.

It is raining. I stand outside. Sword thrusting wildly at the wind. My backpack sits inside a shelter. People stare. I don’t care. I can’t cry. The wind rips at my ears.

I’m walking away from her house. I stand on one side of a crosswalk. Her boyfriend looks across at me, not seeing at first. The light flashes walk. We pass each other. He tries to say something but it’s lost to the wind. I laugh.
 
She didn’t like the lunch I brought today. I sit at the bus stop in the sun, digging soup out of a mason jar with a spoon. She’s teaching me to play Für Elise. I can smile again. It doesn’t hurt to breath.
 
Public transit has held on this way until the present day. Most busses are gas powered to save the expense of laying rails and establishing lines, but still provide more than an omnibus. Rising gas prices have sparked increased membership in recent years as well. Perhaps public transit is again on the rise.

I choose to miss my bus. An apologetic call home. I’m afraid I have to stay. “You can sleep on my floor” She says loud enough for her sister to hear. She bites her lip to keep from crying out.

I end it. Then she does. Kisses keep sneaking through when we’re least expecting them. Sunny days spent together. Going to writing club even though it’s summer and neither of us has class. The bus stop becomes an entrance into a secret world only we can see.

”Leave.” I don’t come back. Evergreen.




 
Work cited



Schrag, Zachery. "Urban Mass Transit In The United States." H.net. Columbia University, 1 February 2010. Web. 29 Nov 2012.
 
Sun, Lena. "Public Transit Ridership Rises To Highest Level in 52 Years; 4% Increase Comes Despite Job Losses, Plunging Gas Prices." Washington Post [Washington DC] 9 march 2009, A.2.. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. .
 
Barret, Paul. "The President and Fellows of Harvard College." President and Fellows of Harvard College. Vol. 49.4 (1997): 473-497. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. .
theologian theologian
18-21, M
Dec 1, 2012