The time is just past 5:30 and the number 8 bus is operating at max capacity. We can take no more.
The Commuter Combat Arena is packed.
Our wheels are pressed to their utmost PSI, gears creak and the steering wheel churns. Hopefully we’ll make it home, but our fate is as uncertain as the number of people exiting the bus at each stop.
At the last pause, one more warrior left our midst, and the pressure within the vehicle lifted just enough to allow another single passenger to board. The conductor rasped between coughs, “I can take one more!” The waiting pedestrians looked longingly at our vessel, choosing the single among their midst that would be allowed passage to their home. The bus eased shut the doors and pressured the accelerator. We cruised smoothly past four faces, glaring at us from under the #8 road-side post.
Perhaps next time those tired souls will be welcomed in with open doors and ushered to an uncluttered seat of their own. For now, we- the crowded crew of this bursting bus, journey on towards our abodes. We stay thankful that we are the riders- for having a promise of way home is enough for us to endure this rocky journey.