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By the end of the day I was exhausted. I regretted not sleeping after my ‘dreamare’. The way I
was yawning throughout fifth and sixth period, people must have thought I had a problem. My
history teacher took it personal, because he gave me the death stare every time I yawned. Needless
to say, by the time the bell rang, I was ready to go. I considered using the money Aunty Funke gave
me in the morning for a taxi, but I decided I would add it to me rainy day fund.


Ironically, it started raining as I headed to the station. I had gotten out of school a bit late as my
history teacher wanted to talk to me, basically asking the same questions as Mrs James. I must have
been the hot topic of the staff room.


I finally managed to get away, and brave the rain, but it was madness, so I hid under a bus
shelter. I tried to check the bus schedule, but it had been scratched out and marked all over. As I
tried to make out the bus times all I could see was faded writings; ‘Shantel hearts Jamal’, ‘Kuro and
Benji 4eva’, ‘Patricia loves Kweku ’. There was clearly a lot of love that was going on at this bus stop.


It was amazing how the girl’s names were always first. Shantel hearted Jamal, but I wonder if
Jamal’s heart was in agreement. Kuro had professed, that she and Benji were going to be together
‘4eva’, but did Benji have the same timescale in mind. Patricia; Poor, passionate, Patricia. She
dropped the L-bomb on Kweku, she loved him and was willing to show this to present, past and
future riders of the number 21 bus. She even gave a list of reasons as to why she loved him. She
loved him, but the big question was, did he love her?

“Tune in next time for the Bus 21 love chronicles”. I whispered to myself, laughing as I sat down, on
the bus bench, that felt more like a slide.


I never understood love, I was always conflicted as to whether it was a passive thing, that was
just there, or whether it was more active and in your face, like something you write on a bus
timetable. I questioned if love faded? It did on the timetable, I was barely able to make out Kweku’s
name, it now looked like weku. My mum always told me about the unconditional love of God, how
he loved us no matter what. Unlike Patricia, God didn’t have a list of reasons. From my
understanding of what mum told me, he just loves us? Although this lack of expectation was
comforting, the idea of his love for me requiring nothing, made me a bit uneasy. What kind of
person loves you just because? I couldn’t help wondering what the catch was; I’ve always been
paranoid.


No busses had come, but for some reason, I continued to sit there waiting, I just sat twiddling
with my braids. I had them in for far too long and now my nappy hair was fighting its way through
the braids. It was the goose bumps that rose on the back of my neck that reminded me of how cold I
felt. It had gone from chilly to cold real quick. So I firmed the rain, which had actually turned into a
light drizzle; and started walking.

***

Close to Comfort by Thara Popoola

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