Day 1: Write about someone waiting at a bus stop. Where are they going? Are they alone?
It was far too late to be outside.
The darkness was eerie, looming over her head and consuming her. Her nimble fingers carefully traced the curving lines on the map, determining a journey to take that would slowly get her to her destination. She had an hour and a half to travel ten miles.
At least, that was when her parents were expecting her back home. She’d fled early, and was now sitting on the cold bus stop bench, holding her knees tightly to her chest and shivering. She should have stayed a bit longer, but she couldn’t take it any more. She had never been good at holding back her tears. Now, they were spilling out like a stream, accompanied by her chokes and hiccups. She cried until all she could taste was the salt of her agony, and her face was scarlet and twisted in murk. Praying that the bus would be late, she stretched out her legs and lay down across the metal seat face down. But too soon afterward, a boy approached, expectant of a place to sit.
He looked placid, however possible it may be. He was pale, very thin, and looked rustled, like he hadn’t been home in days. Dark hair fell into his pale blue eyes, and his colorless lips looked severely bitten. He didn’t smile, but the right corner of his mouth curled up slightly as he nodded in greeting to her. Flustered, she sat up and pushed her hair behind her ear- which had previously been stuck to her face. And, just like that, they sat in silence for ten minutes. The bus did not arrive.
"Are you alright?" The boy asked, finally breaking the silence. She looked at him, and he looked honestly worried, like he’d known this girl all his life and she’d just told him that she was depressed. She nodded, though somberly, looking down at her purple shoes and wishing she’d put on a pair of socks. She was still afraid to look the boy in the eye; they had only known each other for a few minutes, and he’d seen her at her absolute weakest. That was all he knew of her- the bawling, disheveled girl lying on the park bench. Hair stuck to her tear-streaked face. The thought was daunting.
"I don’t believe you."
It wasn’t that he was persisting, but rather assuring. His tone was soft, and his intention clear. I’m here, you’re here. We’re okay. Maybe he was just that kind of person, who cheered everyone up- discouraged or not. Either way, she couldn’t have been more grateful. She turned to him now, and gave a half-smile, leaning against the frozen plexiglass. “I will be alright,” she corrected herself with an exasperated sigh.
Wordlessly, he scooted toward her and pushed her hair away from her cheeks. He pulled her close, holding his arm around her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. She shouldn’t have trusted him so easily. He shouldn’t have expected her agreement. The eerie night brought them closer, and her cheerlessness allowed them to stay. There was no explanation, but a mutual acceptance.
"I’m Max, by the way." He whispered to her, like it was some sort of lush secret. Max tightened his grip as her lip began to quiver. She had exchanged no more than four words with him, but her whimpering had ceased to a stop. And somehow, for some reason, this was all accepted.
At this, the bus pulled up to the stop, and the door squeaked open. “Sorry we’re running late.” The driver said monotonely as the two detached and climbed into the vehicle. Max paid for Gracie’s ride. They sat together, but stayed apart and wordless. When Gracie reached her stop, she thanked Max. But without further explanation or intent to find him in the future, she retreated back into the dark.
Photo credit: Bus Stop on Flickr