On a scale from 1-10, my enjoyment of bus rides, as in just the ride itself is around a 7: comfortable, easy, occasionally questionable, but that’s expected. When it comes to people, I suppose you could almost consider it people watching, except once you’re seated, you’re stuck observing the same 10 heads for the next however many hours consist of the trip.
This is my first time taking the bus to and from school. I feel like a little kid again – except I only rode the bus once when I was a kid and that was the end of that… now that’s a story for another day. Anyway.
Now I have to say, I consider myself a relatively, no, very quiet person. Not necessarily shy, just a keep to herself kind of gal. Unless of course I’m with a group of friends, seeking information, or lending a brief helping hand, I’m typically not one to strike up a conversation. Ever. Even with my family – I stick to my own thoughts and keep to myself in my room, or wherever it is calm and quiet (always my room). Sometimes I’ll sit at the piano and play for a while, mostly by ear or songs I learn from youtube because I struggle reading music…if I don’t know the tune, it won’t be played.
*getting off topic, apologies, I have a lot of thoughts!*
As I boarded the bus, a girl approached me asking “can I sit with you once we’re on?” “Oh, sure!” I responded almost too eagerly. Great, I thought to myself, there goes my leg room. At least it’s only a 4 hour trip to Indiana? Oh boy…
We ended up finding this interesting 4 seated area, I decided to sit backwards because you can only remember how everything in life passes by, but this time around I could now appreciate its momentary existence and literally watch it all fade into the distance.
So we sat down, and for the first 15 minutes or so, it was easy small talk, nothing more. There was a brother and either sister or girlfriend, I couldn’t tell, that sat two rows diagonal to me, and then 2 adorable older ladies and one attractive young man next to them to my right. The gentleman turned out to be a 5th grade math teacher. I thought it suited him well.
I learned quite a lot about this girl…almost too much. I’m not sure why people are drawn to talk to me, but it always seems that way. Here I am like “ok bye, please leave me alone, in the nicest way possible, of course.” I promise I’m not an antisocial person, I’m just, well, a wallflower.
So for the next hour or so that I was awake and not connected to my music this is what I learned:
Her name was Josie (I’m not sure if that’s how she actually spelled it, but we’ll go with it). She is 21 years old, has three younger siblings, lives with her boyfriend of almost a year in “Indy” (Indiana, not India. They also met online! Don’t give me that look, she said it, not me)…is proud to be back in school, enjoys listening to music, eating carrots, and TALKING…about everything. She was diagnosed with lupus, MS, and bipolar disorder at the age of 11, although she’s doing pretty well! She says she has her days, but she’s making it work for her.
When we reached Indiana, her final destination, she wished me luck, safe travels, and left with a casual remark “make a friend,” as if she could read my thoughts.
Friend: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard, a supporter…
I think making friends is easy, but keeping them on the other hand is quite the challenge. As quoted by Lucius Annaeus Seneca, “One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” Sometimes being quiet and just listening is one of the best things you can do for someone else, all they really want to be is to be appreciated.
So just remember to listen, because we all have a story. Some run deeper and flow faster than others, but in the end, we all just want to be understood.
Here’s to finding the happy life