As the usual routine commute home goes: I get a seat in the back of the bus and spend the bus ride staring out the window. As I watch all of the bustling of the city streets begin to fly by me I imagine that my eyes are the camera for a scene in a movie. The song playing on my ipod dictates the entire placement and reason for the scene. If it’s a mushy, slow love song then the scene my eyes are filming is the end of the movie, where, for whatever reason I have invented at that moment, the camera is either filming the broken hearted lover returning or leaving – forever.
If it’s a happier, folky guitar song then sometimes it’s the beginning of the movie, opening credits rolling, and we don’t know why she’s on the bus yet. Sometimes it’s the pivotal point in the middle of the movie, where the character has been liberated somehow and a dramatic life change is happening as we watch the world fly by her. The camera stays so still that the audience feels this urge to look back, but that’s the point, the character doesn’t and doesn’t need to.
But yesterday I forgot my ipod and so I was soundtrackless. This made my observations about the world around me far more grounded in what was actually going on. Boring.
But then, all of a sudden, one stop away from my stop a truly beautiful and romantic scene really happened. No soundtrack. No script. No actors. Just a spring evening on a north Seattle street covered in cherry blossoms with two strangers waiting at a bus stop.
And their story went: Young happy guy talking to young giggly girl at bus stop. Their body language made it obvious that they were strangers and that he was flirting. Our bus pulled up. He took so long to finish what ever he was saying to her that there was an uncomfortable exchange between guy and driver when he finally stepped on. He was standing up as the bus pulled away. She was staring at the ground smiling, obviously trying not to look up. He was staring at her for as long as he could, obviously trying to get one last exchange. I pulled the tab, the next stop was mine. Four blocks later the bus stops. I get off the bus and realize that the guy who had just gotten on at the last stop also got off. At first, he walked away calmly, like this was his stop too, but the driver and I both knew it wasn’t. His stride was confident and excited and he was wearing a huge grin. I turned left at the corner while he kept walking back down the street where he had just come from four blocks earlier. I hoped that I had realized what was going on, or at least what my romantic movie mind was guessing and so I walked back and snuck a peak around the corner to see what he was up to.
This is where it got end-of-the-movie-perfect:
At this point he was walking down the street so quickly he was practically jogging. And then I caught the moment where, now only three blocks away, she saw him coming back, stood up, arms folded, frozen. He crossed another street with a skip and now, only two blocks away he hollered down the street, “Hey!… I forgot to ask you something!” I couldn’t see her face, but that’s the point, I didn’t need to.
(Yes, I could have made this up – but I didn’t.)