Usually, I work from home, where a bathroom trip equals twenty steps and the effort it takes to pull my pants down and sit on the porcelain throne.
Since I started my new internship, however, I’ve become just as adventurous as a new prostitute. I suddenly decide to take the bus to work one day because I’ve always wanted to experience a catastrophic success.
It’s a Monday when I step onto the CTA bus that carries me to my work. As soon as I sit down I can feel someone staring at me as if I am a new kid of tongue depressor. I look up and about the small cabin where people clamber as they await their destinations, wondering where the other is going, as every head fixates on a mobile device.
My eye finally spots a dark face looking at me to my right. Immediately, I wonder if he’s going to give me an Xbox One, because that would be the only logical conclusion an attractive black boy is staring at me, inches away from me.
His shirt is a dark blue shirt with white buttons on it, complete with a collar and speckles of wrinkles. His shirt looks as if it had been ironed by a depressed kangaroo. his face however, is drop dead gorgeous. Big brown eyes rest on a friendly open smile. He has thin cheek bones.
“hi,” I say, instructively. I wonder if he’s as observant as his shirt illustrates. To my delight, a smile creeps on his lips and he scoots closer to me with a hand outstretched, determined to pump up my attraction.
“hi there sir!” a powerful voice bellows, sounding like a weatherman announcing a storm of kittens, “the name is Jason, yup, it’s Jason. What it do my fine fellow!” the bus lurches over a pothole in the sidewalk, causing our hands to bounce in each other. I take the ear-buds out of my ears because I figure he can tell me the weather instead of the internet radio. His smile is infectious, and his nerdy voice intrigues me slightly.
“you know,” he questions, staring at me as if I am a confused meteorite. “I’m a curious feller. I always have been, so, my fine looking person, what are you listening to?” I decide to open up to him and show my propensity for nerd culture.
“A Star Wars radio drama.”
“really? As an MP3 or on an actual FM frequency.” as he talks I am conscious of other people looking up from their mobile devices to smile at us. They think, either, we’re deranged ice cream robbers or a very cute couple. His interest in what I’m listening to excites me, and his powerful voice captures my attention as well. We both know the other is gay. There’s a flash in his eye as he scoots closer to me, the wrinkles in his shirt disappearing as he slides closer to me. For some reason, being around him makes me want to watch the Weather Channel.
“as an MP3. Duh! they provide a good alternative if anyone hasn’t seen the movies, and can’t see, or, a bit extra for a nerd like me.” he pops one ear-bud out of my lobe and listens without asking me. Somehow, he looks utterly cute. Since I’m staring at his face, I notice that his ears are regular sized, resting on a balled head. Immediately I feel sorry for him, because in a minute he will have to deal with my weird way of flirting.
“you know what there dude?” he says, sounding exactly like a white surfer with no black accent, “these are the same people who played in the movie. They sound the same, anyway.” I confirm that he is correct, and he beams, and this makes me lose it. To my shock, he holds out a bud to a woman who’s tapping her IPhone like she’d tap a candy depressor, or something else.
“check this out! The drama is even more impressive when you’re wearing headphones! Ain’t it cool how the characters bring more life into the drama than on screen?” she listens with a smile, stretching my cord to it’s limit.
After a few minutes, we’re laughing and giggling as if we are little schoolgirls. Our interests lie in almost everything the other is into. We like video games. He likes Pokemon. I like Star Wars. He loves Shrek. I love books. He loves audio books. Whatever we like, the other likes as well and this makes conversations soar. What’s more, he works for Dell. Today, he has done something very strange to see if anyone will call him out on it.
“I decorated my office like the inside of the first Death Star. I don’t think anyone will notice, but it was definitely a blast doing it!” his energy is infectious. I want to kiss him right here, right now. As the bus lurches to a stop, however, he rises slowly, as if this is the last scene in a horror movie.
“this is my stop.” he informs. I blurt out, without thinking, “do you have a car?” my heart skips a beat waiting on the answer. He smiles, leans in close, and says with a twinkle in his eye,
“nope. I fly to work on a privileged society. I use the power of the white man to propel myself to work every day.” his sense of humor is really wonderful. I love it.
“Well,” I admonish. “Don’t trip on oppression.”
For days, I ride the bus, meeting James on the same route every day for a hole week. He brings me hot tea one morning, I bring him a doughnut and a classic paperback book another morning. Roots, of course. He loves my sick humor.
Soon, it’s as if we have our own routine. we settle down side by side, day after day, being nerdy and brightening others day with our lively conversations. He isn’t possessive, which I love, and he isn’t needy, which I love even more. He even suggests we go out for sodas one afternoon, and this makes me swoon that he just gets I’d rather ditch alcohol for a soda. My eye gleams when I say, “on the bus? I take it? Or using the power of the white man to propel ourselves to a food court in a mall. ”
He usually wears T shirts and nicely ironed pants, which accentuate his muscles resting on his thin arms. I like the fact that he doesn’t offer to take me to a bar. He seems to just automatically understand I’d say fuck alcohol, even on a good day. One morning, he wears a batman T shirt, and a Graphic Audio T shirt after that. This makes me want to marry him even more, and I’m scared of marriage.
Our rides turn into daily meetings, where we laugh, talk about things that bother us, debate, even causing people to root for one or the other, and enjoy Graphic Audio titles together. Soon, however, my CP is too much on me, and I have to stop riding the bus.
On my last day on the bus, I get on expecting to see Jason. Instead, an old lady who smells like carpets occupies his seat. She glares as I sit in the designated handicapped seat. She pokes me with her cane, telling me to move, but I scan for Jason. I don’t see him or hear him the whole way to work. This causes me to ride for a few more weeks until my legs can’t take it. I don’t see Jason again.
One afternoon, there’s an announcement over the intercom saying that my ride is here. It’s a good twenty minutes before I clock out, so I am amazed they are even here on time. I pack everything up and head down to the lobby, ready to endure another evening of Chicago touring on the short bus.
Instead, I bump into a dark skinned man standing by the elevator.
“I’m sorry,” I mumble as I fixate on where I’m going.
“that’s OK dude!” a familiar voice sings. I look up, daring to hope. Jason stands there with a big grin, his stance straight as an arrow. I fleetingly notice his shirt with the Grinch on it. I can’t believe it.
I am so happy to see him that I hug him in the lobby. Straight people be damned. Fuck all them homophobes. I begin to ask how he knew where I worked but remember he seen me get off here when I rode the bus.
“you done riding the bus?” he asks.
“yes. I’m done.” I say.
“really? That totally sucks… worse than the directors of Star Wars explaining the Force.”
“ditto, but my CP won’t let me handle it.”
“I think I have a solution, captain nerd!”
“what’s that?” he fixes my backpack before jutting his elbow in my direction. I presume he’s going to take me to a jet pack store, so I eagerly follow him.
Instead, he takes me to a car. A black Mercedes parked outside. I grin as my eye rests on the image on the side of the car. It’s the Star Wars X wing fighter, taking off. He goes to his side of the car and opens the door, before queuing a song on Spotify. It’s the Power Rangers theme song, the heavy metal version.
“well, you gonna get in the front, or the back?”
naturally, I choose shotgun.