An Afternoon at the Bus Station
A scene at a bus stand presents a colorful spectacle. One day I was waiting at the bus stop. It was two o’clock in the afternoon. I was late today so I had to wait for another bus. I was heading towards the bus station with Mohan after Mrs. Wong’s extra class. A bus stand is a very busy place. As usual, I was observing people and their busy schedules. The sun was beating mercilessly on my back and I could feel my sweat trickling down my spine. I have often wished that my mother would allow me to ride a motorcycle to school. She says that I am not ready but we both know that she is terrified that a car would knock me down.
When I reached the bus station, it was nearly empty except for a handful of boys. Most of the buses are overcrowded. Some of them are packed to capacity. Mohan and I strode to a bench near the stationmaster’s office. I could feel the tension on my shoulders as the straps of my school bag ate into my shoulders. “Where is the bus?” I sighed to myself. An elderly woman came and asked me where I was going. She started a conversation but gave up after my monosyllabic answers.
Suddenly, someone shouted and I saw a bus swerve into the station. I got up, thankful for the chance to escape from the woman. It was Mohan’s bus. The group of boys was jostling each other to get into the bus. “Masuk! Masuk!” shouted the conductor but nobody seemed to be moving. The black fumes made me nauseous. All of a sudden, people started appearing from all directions to board their bus. In no time, the passengers were packed like sardines on the bus. It started to move, leaving some unfortunate passengers behind. I waved at Mohan when I noticed him dangling on the steps of the bus. The bus swerved out of the station again. It left another trail of black smoke.
I decided to go to Panjang’s ice stall nearby. The iced sugarcane juice soothed my parched throat as I sipped slowly, all the while keeping an eye out for the bus. Then I saw the bus heading towards the station. I paid for my drinks. “See you tomorrow,” I waved to Panjang.
Once more, the crowd began to swell near the bus. I noticed that the elderly woman was being shoved around by the boys. She started hitting them with her umbrella. Then, I saw Raja, my classmate at the back of the bus. I hurled my bag through the window and he caught it. By the time I got into the bus, it had already started moving. I got into my seat and told myself that I must really try to convince my mother about the motorcycle again.