I used to believe I was very aware of my surroundings. The same to-do list, the same locations under the same sky everyday. My routine was set – simple and redundant. The sun was shining bright on a regular Wednesday morning. I was sitting on my bench waiting for the bus I took everyday. My nose was buried in my favourite book while the breeze played around with the pages. The regulars passed and we exchanged pleasantries, insignificant and extremely artificial, as always. The sidewalk started to fill with the usual bus travelers all gathered to get to the same destination. I couldn’t help but get distracted by that thought. All these people waiting for the same bus to go to the same place. So many walks of life, joining at a single point to embark on the same journey. The depth and emensity of this thought stretched farther than that of the mysterious sky. So much unknown so much uncertain. Surpassing the chill of such thoughts, the bus arrived on schedule, as always. I got up, bookmarked my book and took my place in line. Somedays, I would be right in front, others right at the end. That was the only unforeseen event of the day. But today something different happened – I tripped. The contents of my bag spilled all over the sidewalk. Carefully gathering my belongings from around the feet of others, I fixed myself and walked towards the bus doors. The man in front of me climbed in and the doors closed before me. I stared at the driver slightly betrayed, as he accelerated the bus ahead.
I had never missed that bus, what was I going to do now? I looked around me and nothing looked the same. I had never been in this spot, at this time ever before, I didn’t know what happened next – I had no control. Was there another bus that passed through here? Should I wait or turn back? Was there someone I could turn to for help? The uncertainty was heightening and the confusion increasing. What was happening?
The sound of an engine was coming closer. I turned to the left and saw another bus materialize from around the turn. It looked like the bus I had missed but there was something different. It was more pronounced, more noticeable, like it demanded your attention. The bus stopped in front of me and the doors flew wide open. The driver looked tall and extremely lean. “You don’t seem like a regular, you must be one of the ‘bus-missers'” he smirked. I looked right and looked left. There was no one else around, this bus couldn’t have been scheduled. My attention went to the steering wheel, there was no GPS like in my usual bus. The driver clearly didn’t follow any of the extra rules and regulations. Was this bus trustworthy?
“Miss?” He stared at me. Startled, I realized he was waiting for an answer. “Umm yes, I don’t know what happened, I somehow missed my usual bus.”
“No surprise there, I’ve never seen you before – I don’t forget faces. Where you headed?”
I looked inside the bus, it was pretty much empty, but most of the seats were occupied by females. There were a couple of men scattered here and there, some obvious couples but nonetheless it was pretty much empty.
“450 Serra Mall,” I answered. He grinned and looked behind at his passengers.
“Well ma’am, that’s not an official stop but that’s where I’m heading myself. I’ll drop the rest and get you there, hop on,” he ushered me in. My brain began hyper analyzing options. I looked around again and seeing no harm hopped on. I sat in the second row behind a young shy couple that secretly stole glances at each other time and time again.
The people were generally friendly and well spirited except for a few that occupied the back row. I chose to ignore them. The chirpy girls got up after a few intervals to speak to the driver. It wasn’t anything like my ordinary bus ride. Soon the sun disappeared behind angry grey clouds and it started to rain fast and hard.
The bus emptied as we drove on, a few passengers joined for a stop or two but the bus never filled to capacity, the same seats were recycled. Soon it was just me and the group in the back I had decided to ignore.
“How much longer?” I called out to the driver.
“We’re heading to your stop now.”
“Didn’t you say you’ll drop all the other passengers first since this isn’t an official stop?” I asked confused.
“That’s what I did,” he turned giving me a weird look.
“No there are still passengers in the back!” I gasped thinking he hadn’t noticed.
He laughed a slightly painful, slightly evil laugh. “Those in the back? They come and go as they please. Just ignore them.”
This day was getting absolutely bizarre. How did I even get here? I thought to myself.
“You alright miss? You look like you’ve seen a ghost?” The driver called out.
Startled I looked up and shook my head “no no, everything is fine. I was just surprised at the weather and the randomness of this day.”
He smiled. “Look closely through the rain. Only then can you see the rainbow. Sometimes you set out on the same journey with a particular set of people because they are to be a part of your destiny or you are to be a part of theirs.”
His words took me by surprise. I sat in silence absorbing the depth of what he had just said. Maybe uncertainty wasn’t to be feared, it was to be marveled at. The element of surprise did create the most beautiful and worthwhile memories. I took a deep breath and smiled. Maybe this different, unexpected journey was some sort of an infinite destiny.