the school bus

it doesn’t stop in front of our house. ours is the kind of house no one stops in front of. stares at? sure. whispers about? certainly. but only ever from the safety of their moving cars or curious bodies. our bus driver’s name is kimberly, but she isn’t one; she’s tough, a single working mother of three. she likes me, but it’s clear she isn’t looking out for anyone but herself. just a year or two past her prime, she wants to be liked; the cool aunt, the youthful older sister. on particularly lengthy or ruthless rides i sometimes catch her eye in the giant rear view mirror above her head. the look there, the barely detectable shrug of her shoulders, stings almost more than the ugly shouts and hurled humiliation coming from behind me, almost. ‘nobody wanted you’ one of them seethes, from the furthest seat back. we all hear and know who the hate fueled words are being flung at. like a goose in a circle of ducks, my eyes widen and turn downward, burning holes in the duct-taped seat back in front of me. i count seconds, minutes, the dirt flecks on my once-white-shoes, anything to make the purgatory ride around hell go quicker. my body is trapped and so full of rage, i have no choice but to leave it. from high above i see the yellow school bus come to stop at the friendly red house down the street. and then i see me. head down, body floating past that large front seat, i step down into the deep, black treaded steps, away from it all. away from them all. people don’t just give their kids away, everybody knows that.


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