Feeding The Habit

"I will go in this Way, Oh but I will find my own way out." -Dave Matthews

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Lessons On Hate

Each morning I would be there at six. I would stand, determined, and wait. At night I drew and sketched things. Pictures of cars, pirates in ragged clothes, and men. The men would be wearing jeans, the baggy ones with elastic around each ankle-
And lots of zippers. Sometimes, there were too many zippers.

My jeans were from K-Mart though; the husky section. Even then they were too tight. I knew it didn’t matter what you wore. The person inside the clothes was more important. Still, I would have liked more zippers.

When the bus pulled up, and the door slid open, I climbed the stairs. I looked straight into his eyes and said, “Mornin!” The expression inside the afro didn’t change, but his eyes met mine, and the whole head nodded. Sometimes, with all that hair, I wondered how he managed to get his head back up straight. He always did though, gave a hefty pull on the lever for the door, and slid his gloved hands back over to the steering wheel.

My eyes after that were fixed on the back window. I almost couldn’t hear the other guys laughing, patting me on the back, and jeering, “Su’up Tights! Gimme luv nigga.” I sat in the first empty seat, convinced mankind was corrupt, destined to taunt me. I would think about going on a diet. I would watch the retarded kid in the front seat suck on his fist then wipe it all over his face. He’d shake his head back and forth like he was possessed.

I always waited to be the last one off, my eyes at the seat behind me. The afro would turn towards me and say, “You have a good day.” It never spoke to anyone else.

Those days passed slow.

Ten years later, the bus route was still the same. I could still see that afro driving along on my way to work. I wondered if he ever thought about shaving it off so the kids would stop laughing at him.

I wonder sometimes too about my little league team. The one I was on the year before I started ridding the bus. About how when my uniform came it was one size too small, and the team gave me the nickname, “Tights.” They all liked me even though I was white and a lousy ball player. They thought I was funny.

My teammates, they were probably the same ones on that bus. The ones that I was too scared to look at. The ones I was sure would jeer me before I even got on that first time. The ones that were part of this corrupt world.

The ones that were all just anxious to understand love.