The Real Bus Girl
I've decided to share a story that until now I've been too embarrassed to tell anyone about.
Years ago I wrote this Bus Girl post. Read it if you want. Don't read it if you don't want. You're your own person, pal. About 18 months ago I encountered a serious, real life case of Bus Girl. A girl, she was. A female girl. I started seeing her on the bus to work each morning. I admired her from afar. Not that far, actually. Like, a couple of seats away. She had sallow skin. Brown eyes, brown hair. I know what you're picturing. It's this, right?
You'd be wrong. Far prettier than that.
She was always well wrapped up. She always, always, wore a hat. Sometimes I worried she might have some sort of bald patch under there. No matter, I thought. Just wear the hat all the time if you want. I mean, look at that singer, Gabrielle. She covered up her eye the whole time. Probably helped her career in the end. Yeah, go on love, cover up that bald patch.
Anyway, soon enough we started making eye contact. Looking at each other with our eyes. This soon escalated. I'd get on the bus, have a scan for her. We'd lock eyes and smile.
SMILING AT EACH OTHER!
WITH OUR MOUTHS!
WHILE LOOKING AT EACH OTHER WITH OUR EYES!
Thank God my dear mother couldn't see me now, I thought. Not that my mother's dead or anything. She was just at work, probably. The crucial point is that she certainly wasn't on that bus. It got to the stage when I'd feel a little bit excited every morning thinking about this real life Bus Girl.
Where's she gonna be sitting? She'll definitely be sitting a few seats back so we can do our daily eye-contact-and-smile as I make my way to a seat. Maybe if I sit close enough to her I'll find out what she smells like. Probably smells nice. Do I smell nice? I do smell nice. I definitely smell nice. She'd better fucking smell me if she gets the chance. SMELL ME!
Sometimes she'd have to stand up to let the person beside her, get off the bus. She'd glance in my direction as she did this. Another eye-contact-and-smile.
Multiple eye-contact-and-smiles in the space of half an hour! I was a stud!
This was going on for about two months. Sometimes her smile was cute. Sometimes it was more lustful looking. As if she was thinking "ooh, you smell nice." Eventually, I decided something had to be done. This has gone on long enough.
Some day I'll get on the bus and she won't be there, I'll never see her again, and I'll be disgusted with myself for not acting on all this eye-contact-and-smile action. It had been happening so undeniably, for so long, that there was no question of me imagining it, or mistaking mere friendliness for something more. The internal debate rages.
Do something, Mark.
Do what, though? Give her some fucking flowers? It's 8am and a public bus. Can't exactly buy her a drink.
What about your friend who was given a note from a guy on the bus before? She loved it. That'll work. It's a note. Girls love notes. Remember school? They were always sending notes! She'll know you're literate too, that's a bonus. She'll probably think you're all romantic, like Shakespeare, or one of the Backstreet Boys, or something.
Ah, fuck's sake. Maybe I should just carry on with my life as normal and then everything will be okay.
No! What about that quote annoying people sometimes put on Facebook? Some shit about it being better to regret the things you did, rather than the things you didn't do.
Yeah, I bet Fred West comforted himself with that little maxim when he got caught, didn't he?
Don't bring Fred West into this. What about Rosa Parks? She was brave on the bus, and look what that did. She made a difference, Mark. You can too.
I do love Rosa, in fairness.
Go on son, do it. Do it for Rosa. Do it for AJ from the Backstreet Boys. Do it for your people. Do it for your willy.
Right. I'm doing it. I take out a pen and scrap of paper.
It's good that I only have a shitty scrap of paper. This way it looks off the cuff. If it was some pre-written prose, written on some nice paper, I'd look like an over-prepared little nerd.
I don't remember what I wrote. It was quite simple. Something about how I like seeing her (and her hat) every day. Followed by my name and phone number. That sounds really lame and shit, but come on, what the fuck can you write? I'm just a man. A man on a bus writing a note. Give me a break. As I'm getting off, I tap her on her adorable little shoulder, and hand her the note. I do my best to stride confidently off the bus. This is definitely a good idea. I've definitely done the right thing. She's definitely going to text me. I glance at her as I exit the bus. She's reading the note with a big smile on her face. An unmistakable smile. She's definitely going to text me.
I was supremely confident I'd hear from her soon. Usually I wouldn't feel so certain of such matters. But this flaccid flirting had gone on for months. There's definitely something there. She had the biggest smile on her face reading the note. She's texting alright. Probably before I've sat down at my desk. Shit. What if we date, it goes sour, and then I see her every day on the bus still? Oh Christ. I've made a huge mistake. Then again, what if it doesn't go sour? That's probably what'll happen. You gave her a note for fuck's sake. That's the opposite of sour. That sweet. Sweet. A sweet gesture from a sweet guy.
I'm checking my phone at a rate of knots. Whenever I get a text or alert I'm absolutely disgusted when it isn't her. Enough to feel angry at the person who has texted me.
WHY ARE YOU TEXTING ME? GO AWAY!
DON'T YOU KNOW I'M WAITING FOR A TEXT FROM A BUS GIRL? A REAL LIFE BUS GIRL?
WE'VE BEEN MAKING EYE CONTACT! WE'VE BASICALLY BEEN LIVING IN SIN!
It gets to lunch time. No text. She's playing it cool. She's definitely going to text. You wouldn't want her texting too quickly. That'd be so annoying. She'd be way too keen.
It gets to 5pm. No text.
She's just been really busy at work! Must be a high pressure job. Good thing I gave her the note so. She's probably thinking about it all day. That's probably what she'll say when she texts.
7pm. No text.
Maybe she has a boyfriend or something. Still, just text and tell me as much. That's totally fine.
8pm. No text.
9pm. No text.
9.30pm. No text.
9.45pm. No text.
10pm – The texting watershed. You can't start a conversation by text after 10pm.
Little. Baldy. Bitch.
I get on the bus the next day. She's there. I see her from the corner of my eye. I couldn't even look at her. I was too embarrassed.
Joke's on you, love. Wearing your hat all the time? Even on the bus? Don't you know you won't feel the benefit when you go outside again? YOU WON'T FEEL THE BENEFIT!
The next week, I saw her on the bus, and made accidental eye contact. She smiled. But it wasn't the same smile. Before, she gave me a sexy, almost suggestive, smile. This was a different smile. Ever been at a funeral, and you see a relative of the deceased, from afar? You do your best to give them a supportive smile. It's not really a smile. It's more just pressing your lips together and trying to look humble. She did that. So much worse.
Thankfully I only saw her for a few weeks more, and then never saw her again. I can only hope that someday she doesn't receive a text she's banking on. Like one telling her to move out of the way of an advancing lorry. YEAH! HAVE THAT!
And as for Rosa Parks. Thanks for nothing, Rosa. Thanks for nothing. No, I don't mean that. I'm sorry, Rosa. Forgive me. Here, have my seat.
Anyway, the lesson here is to just to never take any risks, and avoid human contact at all costs.
And take off your fucking hat indoors. I'm off.
This piece was originally published on The Blog of Mark Walsh.