Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bus Stop

My name is Adam Ritter. This is probably the most random piece of literature that you will ever read, mainly because it is being put together by one of the most random people that have ever walked the face of this planet. My thirty-sixth birthday was a mere six months ago and I can tell you that I feel older than what I really am. But there are reasons for that. I spend most of my time locked in a room that sits hundreds of feet above the city streets, looking out huge windows out onto the world below, and sitting in silence. I don't talk to very many people. I really don't see the need to. Everything I need is contained within these four walls and whatever I'm missing can be brought to me just by picking up the telephone.

I can't remember how I got here. I really can't think of how my life has ended up the way it has. I didn't ask to feel this way and I sure as hell didn't ask to be in the condition I am in. For now, I take it one day at a time just as the doctor instructed me to over two years ago and I'm doing just fine. Sure, I have nights where I spend the duration of it sitting at the window and watching the life below, but there are other nights when it all get to shut off, leaving the room - and my head - in silence and allowing me to parake of the wonderous joy that is sleep. It's either one extreme or the other: being awake for thirty-two hours in a row or getting the chance to sleep for thirty-two hours. The things that's most frightening is that I'll never know which one I'll be dealt until the sun begins to set over the river and until the sky slowly grows darker and darker.

I write about the most random things. Sometimes they are inane ramblings. Sometimes they are feelings and/or thoughts within me that are so overwhelming that I have to put them onto paper - or a computer screen - for them to leave me be. Other times, the loneliness that inhabits me comes out from time to time and I write as if I'm being murdered, crying out for someone to help me. And yet other times, they are dreams that I will experience when I sleep and they will take such a hold on me that they stay with for days and days until I shut them up by writing them down. Whatever decides to possess me will come out of me and become a concrete and readable documentation of what's inside my mind. I have been doing this since I was a teenager in high school. I carried around black composition books that I wouldn't let anyone else touch, much less read. Teachers would confront me and try to take those books from my possession but I wouldn't allow it. They just couldn't understand that for me, pen to paper was the only way I could stop thinking about every single voice the figments of my imagination would embody. Nobody understood. And there was no point in explaining it to anyone. What would have been the point? My classmates would have pointed and laughed at me, maybe going as far as to taunt me, trip me in the hallways just to watch my books fall onto the floor and see papers scattered everywhere. It was hard to be the pariah. And that I was.

I spent the majority of the night prior to this in the back seat of a rented luxury car, driving around the city, looking for something to feed off of. The driver, the man I simply refer to as "S", made no attempt to direct a single word at me this time around. I sat there in the dark, the partition all the way up, the faint sounds of Duncan Sheik and Vienna Teng softly cooing above me. The rain had started to come down and I wondered just how long I was going to be out. I rubbed my eyes that were still tired from yet the previous day and I knew that I had to do something before I lost my nerve. It was then that I was taken to a suburb of the city and I was amazed at how different it all was from what I remember. I saw a handsome young man seated on the bench of a bus stop with the most sad look I'd ever seen on a human being. I told the driver to stop and from where we were parked, he appeared to have been crying. He was wearing a grey hooded flannel and as people stood around him to take the same bus, he covered his face as to hide his emotions. Immediately, I wanted to take him home. That's always my first thought. But there was something that I could read in his eyes from where I was, something that slowly began to take a hold of me and from that distance, I knew that his world prior to sitting at that bench had been different.

I sat there and watched him for exactly thirty-three minutes until the silver and blue bus came and took him away. I could only imagine what was on his mind...and in his heart:

There comes a time when you have to wake up and realize things. I was sitting on bus this afternoon and staring out the window as the rest of the world passed me by. I was being lulled to sleep by the droning of the bus motor as I wrapped my arms around myself. I was cold, and all I wanted to do was to get home. At every stop, I seemed to just watch at how people interacted with each other. I listened to how they spoke to one another. I saw smiling faces. I heard laughter. And from the back of the bus, I became a spectator of the life that was boarding. I drew the hood from my jacket over my head and listened to the chit chat and the pitter patter of feet as they same onto the bus.

There was somewhere I was going, but at that moment, it completely slipped my mind. I looked outside as it started to rain and listened as the raindrops hit the window. I took in the scent of wet pavement and I watched as the kids on the bus looked out the window and smiled at the rain falling down. The bus made a halt at the traintracks and the train howled as it sped by, cars one by one with their spray-painted grafitti passed and I counted each one. One. Two. Three. Nine. Ten. Eleven.Building passed by and I watched as people emerged from their homes. They are lucky. They have somewhere to go, which bothered me, because I can't rememeber where I am going. The kids began to laugh and sing and I sat there in the back of the bus alone, my knees up against the back of the seat in front of me and the hood over my head still. I thought about all the mistakes that I have made in my life and how each one of them I've had to pay the price for. I thought about people that have come into my life who are not a part of it anymore and for a brief second, I missed every one of them. I tried to think about every word I've ever uttered to people and if I've hurt them in any way. I guess I am alone for a reason, right?

The bus stops for a moment on the side of the road and the rain keeps falling. The kids all press their little faces up against the windows and smile as the rain hits the side of the bus. They smile and they point and they laugh. I remember laughing that way at one time. I remember having that smile upon my face when I knew that everything in the world was perfect. But things have changed. Things aren't what they used to be. And I have spent the last few months trying to figure out where it all went wrong. I don't know what I did to push the life I once knew away. I don't know where or at what moment everything decided to go the opposite way. I long for those days when everything was good. I long for the days when you were around. But you disappeared. And I don't know where you are. The bus stops on the other side of town and the kids get off, screaming their hearts out because to the right of me, is the city park. It's still raining, the sky is still dark, but they get off and they run out into the field of oversized toys and swing sets. I remember being that age. I remember being so carefree.

Suddenly, the rain begins to fall harder and we come to a small street corner where I get off. Pulling the hood of my jacket over my head, I walk down a solemn city street as the leaves fall from the trees above me. The street is slick and the leaves beneath my feet are different colors. The wind blows through the hood of my jacket and I feel it's chill. I have never been the same since that day. I have never been able to put things back to what they were. I am lost in a world that was comprised of days and nights of having you by my side, which is now lonely moment after lonely moment. I don't know why I feel this way, but I've surrendered to it completely. Everything that was colorful and meaningful in my life has now gone black and white. There's no point in telling you that I need you still. There's no point in trying to convince myself that everything is going to fix itself. You can't hear me. You don't even know where I am. My feet stop at a stoop on the corner of the street. I look up to see a tudor-style home, blue as the sky, surrounded by shrubbery that is taking in the rain like a familiar stranger. There are seven steps that lead to the front door. The screen door with the tear on the bottom left remains. I smile to myself because I was the one who tore it. The rain is falling harder and harder and I can feel my body shivering in this cold, fall weather.

There is a reason why I'm here.But I can't put my finger on it just yet.

I arrived back at the building at half past one 'o clock. I stepped out of the car and heard the driver mumble something to me but ignored it completely as he drove off into the night. I cannot erase the image of the young man from my mind. I wanted to know who he was looking for. I wanted to know who had caused him the pain that he was feeling as he sat in that bus all alone. Maybe I should have gotten off to accompany him. Maybe that would have made things better for him. There was a sadness inside of me that related to how he must have felt. Would I have been able to change anything if I had accompanied him? I opened the door to my place and tossed the keys onto the credenza and kicked my shoes off before lying down on the sofa. The television set was still on but I couldn't hear anything. I lied there in the silence and thought about what that young man must be going through now, so many hours later. The rain had yet to cease so I prayed that he made it safely to wherever he was going. I could still see his eyes. I could still see him sitting there, with so much on his shoulders. As I slowly drifted off to sleep, I swear that I saw his beautiful face on the television screen for just a brief second:

The wind is now stronger than it was before and looking around, I notice that I'm the only one out in the street. Everything around me is somber, the trees are looking down on me from above. Leaves are falling past my face and all I can do is stare at the building in front of me. The are no sounds around me, only those of the wind and the leaves brushing against the pavement. There are no cars. There are no people. There is not a barking dog within ear's reach. It's just me and the house before me. I don't know why I'm here or what brought me to this point but here I am zipped up tight feeling the rain soak through my clothes, the chill taking over me slowly.

I walk up the pathway leading to the seven steps that lead up to the front door and a feeling of helplessness comes over me. I look up and see the windows on the second floor, the blue siding whose color is fading away. I remember this house. I remember looking out those windows. I start seeing pictures in my head, one by one, of me and the connection I have to this place. I can hear my shoes coming into contact with the wet pavement beneath my feet. I don't know why I'm walking up these steps but I am. I can feel myself shivering underneath my jacket. I can hear my heart racing in my ear, the thumping sound is almost louder than the wind howling all around me. I come up to the door and slowly reach out and place my finger on handle of the screen door. You used to live here. I cover my eyes with my hands as I suddenly come to the realization of why I have come here. Suddenly, eveything makes sense: I can hear my alarm clock going off in my bedroom and I can see myself lying on my bed, staring out the window in a daze. I can see myself getting up out of bed and staring at myself in the mirror in the bathroom as the shower runs next to me. I can see myself staring out the window as the day slowly becomes overcast and I can still see myself slipping into my jeans and t-shirt and sitting on the couch staring into space. I can feel the emptiness of the room and the cold draft from the open window still. I can see myself locking the door of my flat and walking down the stairs, each one more painful than the last. I can see msyelf walking down the street as the rain starts to fall.

I can still feel the raindrops against my face, masking the tears in my eyes.I can see myself standing at the bus stop, the hood of my jacket over my head so that nobody can see my face, standing away from everyone else and making sure to be the last to board it. I didn't sleep at all. I moved from the bed to the sofa to the kitchen and back to my bedroom. I sat in front the television set for hours and hours and hours and all I could do was sit and look out the window onto the street below. I am recalling every step I took to get here and now that I am here, I don't know what to do.I don't want to knock on the door because I know you won't answer. I won't call out your name because I know you won't hear me. I won't try to sneak into your bedroom through your window because I know the room is now empty. There is nothing left here except the tear in the screen door. The tear that will always remind me of the night you had to go away. The one night that if God could give me any wish, it would be to go back and change everything. I wish that I could take things back. I wish that I could make things go back to the way they were. But that will never be possible.

That will just never be. As the rain now falls at full force, I stand in the porch and stare at the street and think of you and the thunder rumbles overhead......and my heart breaks.

And at the exact moment I departed from the waking world, I felt mine break, as well.

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