I continued to write onto the bare steel in front of me, scribbling words I copied from the rusting floor and murky glass windows that blurred the speeding images outside. I was struggling to keep my hand steady, eager to make every letter legible despite the sudden stops and bumps along the way. It was a rough ride. The words finally converged into a nine-line poetry, which ended with a sign and an eleven-digit number. I was hoping that someone would care to read it, unveil the message beneath the lines, and find me. I was going home and yet I felt lost, ever wondering if I took the right bus.
I spent the rest of the ride looking outside occasionally lip-synching conversations between people. I watched as the yellowish tone of the world succumbed under the grey shade of the sky, once blue and now swallowed whole by wrathful dark clouds. Soon, bullets of water streaked down, firing at will against everything, pounding on the bus’ roof and windows. My head ached in the swift drop of temperature. It didn’t take long before the flood water rose and for the children of the streets to play in celebration. I envied them, those little vagabonds. I was dry and warm and yet I couldn’t smile remembering how I used to enjoy the rain once upon a time.
The traffic ominously twisted. The sounds of angry horns became a chatter, pointless amidst the stagnant traffic flow. The two-hour journey stretched to three, to four and then five. I was stranded, trapped in a gas chamber thinking that fates were mocking me once again. And then, the hissing sound of an opening bus door broke the monotony of the moment. Every one looked up. Someone got on board. I watched as the new passenger walked gracefully along the aisle. I was torn into thinking which was more curious about her: the fact that she’s dripping wet or that she was missing a shoe. She traversed the length of the aisle leaving wet footprints and blots on the cold steel floor, bowed head moving left and right searching for a seat. And she found one—the one next to me.
I became so aware of her presence and the minute space between us. It made me feel uncomfortable and yet there was this urge to have a glimpse of her face concealed under her long black hair. She felt terribly cold. I could sense her trembling in her seat. If I could at least make her feel warm. But I couldn’t do anything. The ugly feeling of powerlessness compelled me to just sigh—a subtle way to scream out bottled frustration that burdened my chest. I looked once again to the cold, wet, world behind the glass, desperately trying to swim away towards a reverie I so longed for, separated from me by a curtain of an unrelenting summer rain.
And then between a heartbeat and a groan, my cellular silently rang. Someone had sent me a message. I reached for it in my pocket, wrapped in a white handkerchief. After my eyes grazed the three lines of the message, it struck me. Fate indeed mocked me the day.
"You should vandalize buses more often, sir.
I think I found you.
And I hope you can find me too."
I looked incredulously at the person next to me, a cellular held in her trembling hand. I offered my hand where the piece of cloth from my pocket lies.
“Thank you.” She slowly reached for it in my hand. She looked up and bestowed me a shy smile. It was then that I saw her beautiful face, embellished with water droplets glinting like misplaced diamonds.
“No, miss. Thank you.” For the first time in ages I smiled. It’s indeed easy to find someone, especially when the person you’re looking for is sitting just a couple of inches from you.
“I think I found you too.”