Introverts, Elephants

Next stop: University Avenue

The bodiless voice is hardly audible over the sound of the woman next to me yapping on the phone. She’s clearly the most important person on this bus; this is the third person she’s talked to on the phone. Each conversation has been mind-numbing. The first one was about her girlfriend Jaclyn’s new “boy toy”. The second one was about the groceries she wanted to buy that night (diet coke and low-fat Kraft Dinner because she is like, so, bad). The third one, currently drowning out the next stops and the narrative voice in my head, is about her plans for the weekend (clubbing, whaaat?).

I should feel so lucky that she chose to sit next to me. She’s clearly a big deal.

Next stop: King Street

I roll my eyes, sigh, and stare out the window, letting my book fall shut on my lap. I run the pages through my fingers, wishing I could concentrate on reading instead of being annoyed by the woman next to me. The seats are clearing up now – she can go sit somewhere else. Any day now. Please.

I check my phone, to see one new facebook notification. From my mom again. It’s a wonder she ever gets any work done. I open it just to make it look like I’m doing something. I hate this subtle little feeling in the back of my mind that I have to look like I, too, have someone to talk to. I don’t, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m not perfectly fine with being judged for it, though.

Next stop: Biology 3

I take a deep breath. Let it go, Sam. It’s been like this since high school. All I wanted to do at lunch was sit by myself and read, and some loudmouth always had to come and sit beside me, like they were doing me some huge favour by interrupting my attention from the people I actually care about (characters in books, if you’re keeping score). I’ve been told I look lonely, but they’re mistaken: I look alone. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who knows the difference.

Chatty next to me jumps up and breezes her way off of the bus. I heave my purse off of my lap and sit it on the seat next to me, and open my book.

Next stop: University Avenue

I’m trying to hear Jess’s voice over the sound of my heart pounding.

I’m two stops away, I realize, giving Jess a halfhearted agreement about something I didn’t quite hear. The nausea gets worse. All Jess wants to do is make plans for the weekend. All I want to do is keep down my breakfast.

It’s been three weeks now, I realize, feeling my legs start to tremble. I’m running out of excuses to tell myself. I feel it threatening to burst out of me, and I’m not sure exactly what it is – is it shouting, is it tears, is it everything I ate that morning? Oh, stop thinking about it, Mia, just stop. God. You’ll know soon enough.

Next stop: King Street

I’m getting the real answer, now. One stop from now, that is. And it’s about time, I suppose, biting my lip and nodding along to Jess even though she can’t see me. I close my eyes but the motion sickness kicks in and I hold them open, biting back tears. I’d cried hysterically the night before, while my roommate was in the shower. It only seemed to stop when people were listening. So I kept people listening. When I was alone, it attacked me.

Next stop: Biology 3

That’s me. I take a deep breath, trying to breathe through the swelling nausea in my abdomen. Biology was the building across the street from health services. I try not to look at the girl next to me, and prepare to stand up with all the dignity I can muster. She stares out the window at the health building, and I promise myself she’s just daydreaming.

But for some reason, as I jump up and start trying to think of ways to get Jess off the phone, it feels like everyone knows where I’m going, and it feels like everyone knows why.


For this week’s Weekly Challenge.

This entry was posted in Quite Possibly Art, Weekly Writing Challenges and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Introverts, Elephants

  1. Pingback: Not All Shoes Fit The Same | The Chatter Blog

  2. Wow! Fantastic twist. And it really portrays the getting into someone else’s skin. Nicely done.

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  5. That was really excellent. You made me care about the characters. Thank you!

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  10. rarasaur says:

    The stress in this was so real, I was very much caught up, and so sympathetic to the characters. I think this was very well-crafted! :) Thanks for participating in the challenge this week! :D

  11. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge – Leave Your Shoes At The Door | Joe's Musings

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  13. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate
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