They had changed the bus routes. More specifically, they had changed two of the routes routes, his old route, and what he came to know as his new one. They moved one bus stop from one route to another, to balance the load of the buses. He didn't mind, it was only a bus.
For a while he was alone. He was surrounded by people, on the seat next to him or behind him, people all around. But he didn't know anyone. The bus ride from his stop to school was ten minutes of Zen. No thoughts, no cares, no worries. Just the vibrations of the bus, coaxing him to fall asleep. He didn't mind, he was grateful for the relaxation.
Then he met her. At first he thought it was just polite conversation. Asking about his plans, commenting about the topics that all of the bus-bound students had in common. But as time went on, the conversations got less common, and more specific. He didn't mind, it was nice to have someone to talk to.
In the afternoons the bus was less crowded than in the morning, and he usually had a seat to himself. He sat, dozing against the window, his bag pillowing his side against the hard metal of the window seal. He felt someone sit down beside him. He looked over, and there she was. The next morning, she offered half a seat to him next to her, so he took it. It was the window seat. Somethings would not change. He did not mind, his bag made a good pillow.
The conversation got more personal. She talked about her friends, sometimes about her boyfriends. She talked to her friends on the bus. She argued, gossiped, yell at and about those she didn't like. All the while, there she was, at his side, their arms and legs pressed together. He didn't mind, it was nice to have some entertainment in those ten minutes to and from school.
They shared headphones. The bus either did not have music, or the music was not very good, depending on the driver they had that day. They shared the good times: she talked about her dates and friends. She knew he always liked to hear her stories. They shared the bad times: he offered his shoulder when she received news that her mother had attempted suicide. He didn't mind, he was her friend, and that was what friends were for.
That was when things changed, subtly. Sometimes she would take his arm in hers and lie her head on his shoulder, resting peacefully. She would lie her hand on his leg, there fingers barely touching. He went along with it all. He didn't have a girlfriend, and didn't think that she would be a bad choice, if she wanted to. But he knew that she had boyfriends. She talked about them. Her current boyfriend had been a friend of his, in a past life, and they still got along when they saw each other. But he didn't mind. It was nice to have an affectionate touch to calm his days.
Then one day, as he got on the bus, he noticed her boyfriend. They used to get along, but fell out of touch, he sat in the seat behind, waiting. He was sure that she had not made a big deal about the bus rides, though he would imagine her boyfriend would be unhappy. Her boyfriend didn't seem to know anything. She got on the bus and came and sat down. Next to her boyfriend. She cuddled up against her boyfriend's side, and took her boyfriend's arm, the same way she had took his arm and cuddled against his side. He didn't mind, they were dating, they were entitled to cuddle.
They talked. But he felt slightly outside the conversation like he never had before with her. He was used to her entire attention, and now it was split, not quite down the middle. His stop got closer, and he remembered that her boyfriend lived near him, and would get off at the same stop. She turned towards her boyfriend and leaned in and gave her boyfriend a kiss. Not a small kiss, but a deep, passionate kiss. He turned to the side, he didn't want to see them doing that. He still saw them out of the corner of his eye. He did mind. But he couldn't show it. They were dating. They could kiss if they wanted to.
This couldn't have gone on for more than a minute, but to him it seemed like an eternity. And with every second that passed by, every so slowly, he minded more and more. But he was frozen in his place, there was nothing he could do. His stop came, and he got up. Her boyfriend broke away, reluctantly from her embrace, and got off the bus with him. He could not help but feel betrayed. He talked, politely with her boyfriend. They would see each other in the coming months, they both had lots of free time and wanted to hang out again, like they had used to. But he did not expect to see her for quite a while.
He thought about it. He had no reason to be angry. She had been perfectly honest with her feeling, but never acted on them outside of the bus rides each day. But he was angry. She had made no mentions of any sort of bond outside of the rides to and from school. He could not understand why, because he could not find a reason why he should be angry. But he was. He could not help but feel betrayed. He knew about them for quite some time. He knew they cuddled, he knew they kissed. He even knew they had sex a few times. But he did not mind, it was distant, it was outside the bus. She had broken the rules. She had brought him into their world. He had a long time to think about how this made him feel, and what he would do about it.
He did not see her again. They talked a few times on the phone. But that was the last bus ride. Summer had come at last.
I think he made a mistake...