A love LETTER TO THE #42 BUS
The bus and I have one of those complicated, love-hate, will-they-won’t-they relationships. The kind where somedays, I happily cling to its handholds while it scurries down Spruce Street, while on others I furiously stumble to my destination on foot, cursing the name of the late bus by which I was scorned. The kind where I regularly lament its shortcomings, only to fiercely defend my beloved to anyone else who dares offer criticism. The kind where, despite its current faults, its past mistakes, its future missteps, I know the bus will always be there, eventually. And to this day, that has held true.
Monday, I slump against a window seat. Listening to one stop announced after another, I long for time to move a little more slowly. Today, the bus is like a warm embrace, offering my tired body momentary comfort before a long day.
Tuesday, the bus catches me, as I run, late, out of my door and into its arms. It holds me steady while I try to do too much at once—eat my breakfast, tie my shoes, catch my breath. Despite its everlasting journey to a new destination, today my bus grounds me in place.
Wednesday, we fight. Whether I missed it or it missed me is unclear. But it ends up being one of those cumbersome days of crossed signals and grumbled sighs. Today, the bus isn’t there for me. But tomorrow, I know it will be.
Thursday, the bus is crowded, sullen, and dark. Fitting for my ride home after a particularly hard day. As I weep, I wonder if the strangers around me will stare. I smear the tears away and nuzzle into the once-velveteen seat, content to be one amongst a crowd. Today, the bus shields me, dulling my pain as I sink into its somber surroundings.
Friday, I eagerly await its arrival. I hop on, choosing to stand rather than sit, so that I can better appreciate the early morning rays of sunshine casting shapes that dance along its aisles. Today the bus indulges me, taking me from one place to the next, never tiring and always welcoming.
Saturday, the bus is my saving grace, as I stumble down its aisle and sling myself across its back seats. I drunkenly stare at the pattern of the seat fabric, wondering if it has always been this beautiful. Seeing stars with its every lurch, today I am extra grateful for the bus’s constant stop-and-go journey taking me one block closer to home.
Sunday, I ride quietly, cautious not to disturb the peace of a late afternoon journey home. I smile ever so slightly, noting the deep love I feel within me. Today, I lower my music and rest my head back, appreciating its lull that nearly rocks me to sleep.
The bus, my bus, has been there for me in both monotonous and momentous instances, without fail, every day of the week.
Gillian is a second year MCP student concentrating in Housing, Community, and Economic Development. She is passionate about criminal justice reform, community storytelling, and making transit more accessible for mothers and children. In her free time, Gillian enjoys copious amounts of iced coffee, true crime podcasts, and cooking for her friends.
By Gillian Tiley
Illustration by Jackson Plumlee