To The Bus Driver

Dear Bus Driver,

When I was small I had a recurring dream about an evil witch who, in no uncertain terms, was trying to kill me. It comes around, bizarrely, every four years and tends to last two nights. The first night I usually wake up moments before she vanquishes me. The next night, now familiar with her new tactics, I have the upper hand. When I was younger, I would be terrified of going to sleep the second night, I was already familiar with the world I was about to enter and scared that this time, this year, I might not wake up.

I remember one encounter in particular that I want to share with you. I was eight, and about half way through what would be four years of persistent bullying by the majority of my classmates. The witch , who was a terrifyingly familiar face, was chasing me through the forest which had various school-ground play structures scattered amongst the trees, and blackberry bushes. The blackberry bushes were significant for two reasons. Firstly, my ex-best friend/worst bully and I used to hunt for blackberries in the bushes near her house. Secondly, the blackberry bushes with their piercing thorns and wild branches were the only place I could hide without the witch being able to follow me. I was small enough to slip under them, she was not. It was the second night, and I was in hiding under the blackberry bushes, and the witch had me cornered when she dropped her magic wand and it rolled towards where I was hiding. I grabbed it, seeing it as my chance to defeat her, and waved it sending dark sparks shooting towards her. The dark sparks, as you may guess, were destructive black magic. Instead of weakening her, being hit by the powers of her own wand made her stronger. She laughed and grew more powerful as I continued to hurl black magic at her. I was petrified, and she had become so strong that she was able to push through the blackberry bush towards me. Suddenly, I understood where I had gone wrong. Even as an eight year old I had a small grasp on the concept of love’s power and opposing forces, so I kissed her wand and waved it towards her, sending out an entirely different shade of sparks. These hit her with the force I intended, and I continued to kiss the wand and wave it over her with a shower of white and gold light until it consumed her and she vanished, and I emerged from my refuge under the blackberry bushes exhausted and relieved. I had some moments to sit in the forest and reflect on what I had accomplished before morning took me back to the world you and I share. Unlike so many of my other dreams, every vivid detail of this one is burned into my memory.

I share this story with you because you were being an asshole today. You drove past another rider and I who were sheltered from the rain four feet away from the bus stop, and walked towards it as we saw you approach. You purposely zoomed past, forcing us to run after you. You stopped around the corner, but I am positive it wasn’t out of kindness. I think you wanted a confrontation. I hotheadedly engaged, and both of us were riled up once I sat down. I ran through all the things I could say to you once we had gotten over the bridge, the ways that I could embarrass you in front of the other passengers, or how I could make you feel guilty by showing false compassion and asking you what was wrong because clearly you were looking to spread your anger to others. As a bus driver, you’re in the unique position of being able to collect and distribute bad moods along the same route as you collect and distribute passengers. I wanted you throw it back in your face, but then something switched. I realized if I retuned all that darkness to you, with the passengers as my audience, it would just fuel your burning resentment against lord knows what. You were angry before I got on the bus. You were angry before you knew I existed. Your actions weren’t personal. You don’t know me. You don’t have anything to hold against me. My standing a few feet from the bus stop was just an opportunity for you to be hateful, and if it hadn’t been me it would have been someone else. You just feel like shit, and you wanted to pass it along. You wanted a reason to be angry so that you could release what ever funk you’ve bottled up elsewhere. That’s really selfish of you. Lucky for you, me, and the other passengers I’m not eight years old anymore and I control my temper. So, I’m not even going to blow you a damn kiss. I’m just going to vanquish you with the power of my mind, bitch.

Love Lili

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