Teenagers on the bus.
One girl sits beside me, then pops up onto the seat, I can feel all her muscles jump at once, she hauls the window open and screams.
"Tiff! I'm gonna fuck Shondelle up! I'm going to her school!
She plops back down in the seat for only two seconds before getting up and moving to the very back seats. I have a good view of her pugnacious expression as it fades. She shifts, primly, and picks invisible lint off her knee. She's wearing black tights with big, round holes cut in careful randomness, her skin showing through. A neat mini-skirt. Sweet little pink slippers and matching purse. Hair straightened and held with a scarf. I call her Pinky.
Shondelle can't know what's coming her way on the 43 bus.
Pinky checks her purse, then checks it again. Her certainty is ebbing away. She licks her lips and brushes at her knee again. She gets up and stands at the back door, and I think she's going to get off at this stop.
Instead, a pack of boys push on, four midgets and a giant, they're all the same age, but one got hit with hormone roulette early. Pinky sticks to them and follows them to the back of the bus, working herself up. She's talking a hundred miles a minute, but I can only pick up bits, "Shondelle," and "Shut the fuck up."
The boys are in slow motion, blinking their eyes and looking at their shoes. Pinky's volume grows. She's back on her feet, moving toward the door again.
"I said, Shut the fuck up shut the fuck up shut the fuck up, bitch."
At the next stop, they all empty out onto the sidewalk, and as the bus pulls away, I can see the giant has taken his coat off and raised his arms, slapping his chest, he's a whole person taller than Pinky, but she dances around him like she's going to take a shot.
And then I can't see them anymore.
I get off and walk toward work. In the sidewalk, someone carved this in the wet cement:
"I love you anyway"
I love you anyway, Pinky.