Long drives in buses gave her time to think. She didn’t like that.

She put in two buds bearing rhythmic sounds and pretended to be blank.while all the while her head was misty, working away with a dull static noise that even loud music didn’t seem to filter out. The roads winding up a hill were matched to the crescendo of the song. She waveringly smiled.

She was conflicted with love, as young girls generally are at that age. The age of a blossoming. The completion of any metamorphosis. A new perspective on everything. A perpetual existential crisis.

The desire to question everything but not know the answers. Very questionable music taste.

The man in the seat next to hers observed quietly, indiscreetly.

She felt the stare even while staring out into a valley. Girls have a sixth sense for being watched, she thought to herself. The man wasn’t being creepy though, was he? Her sixth sense was still underdeveloped. She decided against it.

Her mind was a void with explosive colours and images that required processing.  The volume slowly turned up as she unwittingly clutched her phone.

The images in her head were erratic and overwhelming- she forgot to breathe for a few moments.

She tugged at her ear plugs violently and they fell to the floor in a bunch of wire.

She had to wonder how easily they got tangled. Just like her hair.

The hair he’d touched. And smelled. And quietly wrapped around his index finger when they were alone.

She wished she could have done that to him too. Felt his hair as freely as he had hers. Talked a little more when he was silent. Not let the lull into their lives.  

No earplugs blasting Mura Musa meant she couldn’t hide.

There was a chilling silence on the bus. There was a windy rattle of the windows and the constant fidget from other passengers and the quick beating of an excited young heart that would soon realize the futility of love.

She didn’t like it.

He was floating in and out of the bus now. An equal part of the journey as she- as it never was with them.

More important than the man beside her. The man was still observing her. It still wasn’t creepy, she decided with finality.

Broken words still floated from the recesses of her plaintive stash of emotions.

She let them out, a little at a time, carefully. She caught her feelings so they couldn’t escape. She wanted to treasure them. The good moments seemed fleeting and unimportant now.

The bus had descended the hill.

Her co passenger got off. She did too, in a hurry- collecting the earphones off the floor.

Only after would she remember she never did collect her words- they were still on the rattling bus bouncing off poster-filled walls, rattling the windows of other youthful girls.

She watched her words disappear with the bus. Maybe she would leave more words behind tomorrow.

She plugged in her earbuds.   

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