Riding the Bus

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Six years ago, outfitted in an ill-fitting yellow polo and plaid kilt, eyes meekly downcast, I boarded CT Transit bus 328 for the first time. My hands trembled as I fumbled in my backpack pockets for the blue-and-white plastic ticket which seemed to have inexplicably vanished in my time of need. Feeling the eyes of an entire bus-ful of adults on me, I finally extricated the ticket from the nylon depths of my bookbag and slid it into the ticket machine; what felt like a century later, a pleasant whirr sounded as the machine deemed it satisfactory. I immediately rushed to an empty seat and sat down, determinedly ignoring the other passengers and fixating my eyes on the scenery outside the window. Success.

I have taken the town bus ever since sixth grade, when my transfer to a new school in another city, along with my father’s departure on an extended business trip to China meant there was no longer anyone who could pick me up from my school at 3:30 PM every day. At the beginning, like any middle-schooler would be, I was terrified by what seemed a colossal task: making the twenty-minute solo trip from downtown to my house without getting lost, mugged, or abducted. To me, public transportation presented infinite hazards; aphorisms...

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