by Brian Cortes

I arrived at the bus stop at exactly 1:23pm. I was trying to catch the bus that comes at 1:21pm, but judging by the number of people waiting, I think it's not yet too late. Shortly, the bus arrived. Passengers vacated their seats and began to get off in an orderly fashion, while those who want to get on the bus, including me, form a single line. Finally, the driver, an Afro-american lady, told us to get on. She is probably in her mid-forties. She wears a short hair that looks like a man's hairstyle. Around her neck, she wears a gold necklace and a gold lace, where her sunglasses were attached.

I took out my ticket from one of the pockets of my tight jeans. It was folded twice, I think. I unfolded it with one hand because I'm holding a book with my other hand. It wasn't that hard to do and it wasn't that easy either. Holding the ticket firmly, I notice that my middle finger is sticking out and if some narrow-minded individual notices it too, he or she would probably say that I'm trying to "flip" somebody off.

I went on the bus, flashed my ticket to the driver and quickly grabbed a seat. The bus was almost full and some people, who don't usually sit with anybody or those who don't want to smell the body odor of the Mexican construction workers, were compelled to do so. Most of the commuters in this bus are Vietnamese, who are senior citizens and Mexicans.

I was settling down on my seat and began reading my book, when I noticed that the bus driver is walking towards me. I was going to ignore her, but I change my mind when my eyes got in contact with her furious stare. I felt the temperature of my whole body went up and concentrated in my head-right now I know that my face is turning red.

She stopped right in front of me and said, "You know what, if you're gonna ride ma bus just to flip people off, you might as well just walk, ya understand?" 'Coz Ahm not gonna tolerate that kind of attitude on ma bus!"

"What did I do ma'm?" I asked with complete bewilderment.

She turned her back and did not answer my question as if she didn't hear anything.

I expected to see question marks on the faces of others. Instead, I received stares of conviction, pity, exasperation and anger. Usually, when things like these happen in a public transportation, other passengers would ask you what is going on. It seems like in this case, people failed to be broad-minded and ask themselves, "Could it be that she made a mistake?" or "I wonder what does this guy has to say for himself?" Nobody said a single word-to me. Most of the passengers right now are whispering things to those who sit beside them and I'm sure that it's all about me. Some are just staring at me from head to toe. These people are good at what they do: make me feel guilty. I do feel guilty, but why should I? I know I didn't do such things.

The bus has been traveling for ten minutes already and most of the passengers are still talking about me and what they think I did. A group of Vietnamese women is talking to each other in their own dialect and constantly looks at me. What do you think are they talking about, a sadist US Marine? The beautiful lady, who goes to the same college as me, looks at me as if I'm a potential rapist that would attack her whenever I get the chance to do so. I'm starting to feel annoyed and angry. I tried staring at those people who are still staring at me, but there's too many of them.

After exiting from the freeway, I decided that I will avenge myself for this embarrassment. The bus is almost half-empty and the passengers finally ran out of things to say about me. I pretended that I'm asleep and concentrated on the movement of the bus. It stopped. When it started accelerating, I secretly pulled the cord that signals the bus driver to stop at the next bus stop. The bus driver stopped the bus, but no one prepared to get off and there was nobody in the bus stop. So, she moved on. Feeling her disappointment through the movement of the bus makes me feel good, but not good enough. I did it again. She stopped, but this time longer. I heard voices saying, "See you later" and "Bye!" outside the bus, telling me that there were people waiting for the bus in this bus stop. I hope she noticed that no passenger went off. I still didn't have enough and pulled the cord again. It worked. I kept on doing this for several times until the bus reached my destination-and that's it. That was my revenge.

What I wanted to happen did not happen in most stops, because in most bus stops there are people waiting. I walked to the backdoor of the bus; it's closed. I tried to push it but it did not open. I yelled, "Backdoor, please!" She opened it, but not immediately. I notice that she is staring at me through the rearview mirror like the way she stared at me when she approached me.

I went off the bus not feeling so good. It didn't feel like a revenge, not at all. So what if I made her stop for no reason for several times. I can do this for a thousand times, and still feel the same: embarrassed. I can break the windows or even the wind shield of that bus, but the respect of those passengers, who witnessed the incident, for me as a human being is gone, forever. It wasn't a sweet revenge.

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Revenge, 11 June 1997