Rupert took the bus to work on Sundays. He didn’t have to; the divorce had gone through pretty smoothly and he’d gotten to keep the car, which he drove the rest of the week. Monday through Friday, the bus was packed with loud teenagers going to school and busy businessmen and businesswomen who put him on edge. For a guy who worked six days a week, including Sundays, Rupert considered himself to be pretty relaxed, and the tense atmosphere on the bus every morning made him feel unnecessarily stressed.
But Sundays were special. On Sundays, nobody else in his line of work went to the office. He worked in Finance, at a Big Corporation where he made a Nice Living. He never explained to people anything beyond this, because he’d learned that his job-description made their eyes wander and their mouths open in embarrassing yawns. He didn’t begrudge them. He knew that not everyone found beauty in what appeared at first glance to be monotonous number-crunching.
Three years after the divorce, Rupert had to admit to himself that he also took the bus to work on Sundays because of the chance to see Her. She was taller than him, more giraffe than woman, with a wide mouth, high cheekbones and soft brown eyes. She had a small boy – Rupert saw him grow from a newborn baby to a large toddler of three – and She took him to the big park near Rupert’s office to watch other people flying kites. Rupert toyed with the idea of mysteriously gifting them both with a kite one day, but he never quite worked up the nerve to do it.
He wondered sometimes, especially during the dreary winters when She and her son rode the bus far less often, whether he was obsessed. He didn’t think he was creepy; he never stared at Her inappropriately and never offered Her son any candy. But he kept taking the bus every single Sunday, rain or shine, in the hopes of speaking to Her, even accidentally. He sometimes dreamed of criminals hijacking the vehicle or getting into a dramatic crash so that he’d have an excuse to perform a heroic act for which She’d be so grateful that She’d speak to him. Then he remember his puny arms and his ever-growing paunch and sadly realized that in the event of an emergency, it would probably be Her who would rescue him.
8 thoughts on “Sundays on the Bus [Flash Fiction – maybe a beginning to a longer short story?]”
Oh my goodness. You and I are thinking similar thoughts these days, my dear. I like where you’re going with this. More, more!
Thank you! I actually am thinking about making this a longer piece, but I’m not sure how yet…
Yes! Please! Take this one further.
I’m definitely considering it!
Hmmm… could you do parts of the story from each person’s perspective ? Add what the woman sees (her observations of the man, her life) and maybe what the boy sees (how he views his giraffe of a mom) ? Just for a quirky twist the bus driver might have some thoughts about the whole situation that could tie it all together.
I like your ideas – I’ll definitely think about them when/if I decide to work on this some more!
This whole situation sounds particually ominous, or maybe I’m just paraniod.
Elizabeth’s idea may soften the effect though. If that is your intention.
I was teetering between the ideas of ominous and sad when I wrote this, so I don’t think you’re paranoid at all.