The boy I look at every day always sits in the same seat on the bus. The one in the very back and next to the window. He draws flowers in the window when it’s fogged up, like today, and he always moves his head with his music. I haven’t seen him smile once.
I see him only on the bus, never really elsewhere. Occasionally I see him in the neighborhood, but very rarely. He must go to the private school a little further away if he’s still in school because he’s not at mine.
He has red hair and a soft face. His eyes are kind, but there’s an unapproachable aura behind them. Maybe it’s just me.
I’ve made a habit out of staring at him, I realize.
I’m sure it would be worth it to start a conversation with him. I’ve wanted to talk to him for a while now, but I’m too awkward, I think.
I wonder if he’s noticed me staring at him before. I panic. I hope that’s the first time he’s noticed me. I don’t ever remember making eye contact with him.
I still can’t figure out why I’m so attracted to him. I guess everyone has a person too far out of reach for them. I’ve never spoken to him to before. He just looks… perfect.
Maybe I’m overthinking. Teenagers have a tendency to do that.
I, hypocritically, hate it when people stare at me on the bus. But I do it anyway. I like staring at bus boy. What if he stares at me when I look away? He would probably see nothing. I don’t want him to look at me.
For about two months since school started I’ve made up an entire character of bus boy. I don’t know if he’s actually an artist or even if he’s nice. But somehow he seems content, grounded. I bet he’s passionate. Bus Boy, although never smiling, is happy.
He interests me the most — more than the woman with a bad dye job, or the small cluster of seventh graders who complain about their homework, or the loud old women in the back, or the unshaven man who looks really angry all the time, or the other sleep-deprived kids in the neighborhood.
Bus Boy is better than these ordinary people.
He is an artist. I know he’s creative.
His sweater is too big for him. It looks like his grandma knit it, but it works. Over the sweater, he’s wearing a puffy bubble-gum pink jacket. I couldn’t imagine him in jeans and a polo shirt that other guys wear. He looks just right.
But Bus Boy doesn’t care about what other people think of him. His hair is all messy and cute like he doesn’t even need to try. Somehow he looks put together and carefree at the same time.
It feels like my eyes blur out everything around him the way a camera does when it focuses on a subject. I was in a slight trance, forgetting that I was further away from him than it felt like. The same way objects in a mirror are closer than they appear.
The bus didn’t exist anymore. The cluster of seventh graders didn’t exist anymore. Bus Boy was still drawing flowers in the fog, but they looked real.
I start to hear faint whistling. Maybe it’s Bus Boy. Maybe it’s someone else. Bus Boy is moving his head along with the tune.
Suddenly he stops drawing flowers and reaches into his bag. Most would assume he was taking out a notebook or a water bottle, but I become even more enthralled when he takes out a huge swirly carnival lollipop and starts to unwrap it.
The lollipop colors all spin into one red pink color. The flowers start to float, and then they get sucked into the colorful, swirly whirlpool that now encompasses everything. Bus Boy’s face blends into the swirly colors, and it all looks like a Van Gogh painting.
The bus screeches to a stop. As I get out, a cold burst of wind hits my face. The bus drives away leaving me to the cold, no longer warming me up from the vent. I should’ve worn a better jacket.