I took a bus headed for town and alighted at the popular bus stop. From there, I started walking. My excuse at the time was that I was getting to know the city I had just moved to. ‘Just’ may be the wrong word because I had already spent about a month there.
In retrospect, it seem as if I was trying to run away from the decision I had to make. Very ludicrous, right? I think my excuse even sounds saner but it is what it is. As I kept walking, I wasn’t checking out stores or wishing I could try the crepes that smelt heavenly as I passed by the mobile food truck. I wasn’t gasping at the beauty of the historic buildings that made up most of the city’s tourist attractions. I was just trudging along without taking note of the turns and the particular places I passed by.
So I got lost in a place where I essentially knew no one. There had been occasional exchange of pleasantries and discussions on light topics but no budding friendships. I suppose I am to blame for liking my own company so much and being wary of new things and people. The point was that I did not know how to get back and it was getting late. My phone was dead and I only had my key card, student ID and £1. I still don’t understand what led me to leave home with next to nothing.
It took some time for my situation to sink in. When it finally did, I just stood in a spot and let my mind work out a solution. I decided I would ask a passerby. It took a while for one to show up. I politely asked how I could get back to the university and she told me how to get to an appropriate bus stop.
My sense of direction is about as good as my fashion sense which meant I was already doomed. So I took to reciting the directions she gave. This was about five months ago. I’m sorry I can’t serenade you with the tune I came up with. Maybe ‘serenade’ is a little too strong but my memory can’t seem to reach for the chant so I’ll stick with it.
I eventually got to the bus stop, looked up at the little sign and saw that the 44 did indeed stop there. A huge relief followed as I noticed that I only had to wait about 9 minutes for the next 44 bus. I did and it came. By that time, a few people had joined me in waiting. I hopped on and the female driver said the fare was £1.50. I felt my heart drop. I squeaked that I only had £1 and I just stood there looking, maybe a little too casually, hoping she would just take pity on my little self. I was holding up the line but she wasn’t smiling back. A beat went by, then two and the guy behind me dropped a pound to join mine in front of the driver.
At that moment, I seriously wanted to turn around and kiss his feet or something equally dramatic. Embarrassment did a slow number on me as I held out my hand to collect his change so I could hand it to him. The driver gave me a disgusted look and went on to imply that I was greedy for wanting to keep the change as well. I’m pretty sure half of the passengers on the bus heard but I emotionally ducked, thanked the guy profusely and went on to take a seat.
By then, the whole scene didn’t really bother me much. I was happy I would be getting home safely and I was not angry at the driver. I might have done worse. I had put myself in the situation so I wasn’t going to blame anyone else. The good part was that I remembered that I had made my decision on the walk.
I got off the bus at my stop, walked to the A block and used my key card to get in. In my room, I think I just watched Netflix for a while before I slept. I didn’t tell a soul what had happened because there was no need. I had been embarrassed but that was life. I let it go. Until about two weeks ago when someone I love really felt bad and I ended up sharing the story. Mainly because I didn’t see the need in saying that everything would be alright when I could not guarantee that. Instead, I shared my pitiful story, she agreed that mine was a tad bit worse and we laughed about it.
Based on her reaction, I decided to write about it. I hope someone else feels better as a result of reading this. Or just laughs at me. Anyway, it’s all good.