This post is part of the Absolute Write Water Cooler’s February Blog chain, which can be seen here. The prompt this month was Second Chances, which lead me to imagine the short little scene that plays out below.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments and by sharing the posts around your favorite social networks if you like it!
The bus shook slightly as it took the turn and Robert’s stomach did a turn with it, rolling and gurgling at the motion. Some days were still like this, an endless struggle between himself and his body. He clinched even tighter to the manilla envelope between his fingers, wishing he had not taken a seat by the back of the bus near the wheel wells.
Robert looked around the bus, looking for watchful eyes that might have seen his reaction to the turn, but none of the other passengers seemed to have noticed. Robert had no idea why he felt that people were watching him all the time, it seemed to be an extension of the shame he felt being a recently clean cocaine addict, as if the mark he placed on his body and soul was visible. It had been a month since he had stopped using, but it had only been a little less then a week since Robert had stopped using Amantadine, a drug that was supposed to help with the cravings, and did to an extent, but he had felt that at some point he had to fly solo. The bus jumped again and while doing the now routine glance around his surroundings, Robert noticed her. She had red hair and had her nose planted deep in a book, reading intently. She was amazingly beautiful and Robert had to almost pull his eyes off her, although even after his eyes had moved he still felt her presence on the bus, buzzing like a broken light.
When the next bump came, Robert had enough of being directly under the bus’s back wheels and started to move towards the front of the bus, holding himself up by the metal poles with one hand while the other clutched at the manilla envelope. As he was trying to reach for the next handhold the bus hit a pot hole and Robert lost his grip on the envelope. He stifled a cry as he watched it slide down the middle of the bus interior. He was imagining what he would do if the envelope got damaged or even worse, slipped out the gap between the buses doors and the floor and out into the streets when a black high heeled shoe stopped it from going any further.
It was the red haired beauty, her book laying open in front of her on her knee while she kept her foot on the envelope. Whether it was concern over the envelope’s safety or the fact that fate had just happened to have the most attractive woman Robert had ever seen in his life save the envelope from certain doom, Robert could only mumble a barely audible “Thanks.”
“You’re very welcome, but if I were you I’d try not to get up and move around on the bus after it hits 78th Place, all the recent construction around here has made the road like something out a post apocalyptic movie.”
Robert retrieved the envelope and steadied himself where he stood holding the closest support hole, lest another bump sent him flying down the aisle.
“Thanks for the tip” Robert said. “Can I sit down?”
Red hair smiled. “You’d better, before they drop the next nuke.”
Robert smiled back and sat down, the closeness to the woman was both nerve wracking and tempting. “My names Robert.”
“Mines Barbara. May I ask what you do Robert when your not playing Frisbee with envelopes?”
Robert Took a glance around him, thinking of a plausible answer. What he did hope to be doing was in the manilla envelope, but it was not something he felt entirely comfortable talking about yet, not till he was sure. What he had did before, scrounging for money and stealing to sustain his drug habit, he could not say.
“Well, I write.” Robert took a glance out the window. “I mean, I will be writing, hopefully I’ll be writing if all goes well today. In a way you just saved my life, my whole immediate future is in the envelope you saved.”
Barbara smiled as she looked down at the watch on her wrist. “Well, that beats a record,” She said, raising her eyebrows. “I’ve never saved a life this early before, usually I wait till after lunch.”
A hearty laughter came from somewhere near Robert’s stomach which was so busy laughing it forgot to go into it’s lurching routine as the bus hit another bump in the road.
“Well I’m glad your pleased Robert the Writer, it’s not often I get to see a writer laugh, usually it’s the dagger eyes that I get.”
“Oh, and why is that?”
“I’m the submissions editor for Powerhouse Publishing, well one of them anyway, the junior one.”
Robert’s face must have looked like he felt as Barbara quickly looked a bit concerned and flustered. “I’m sorry Robert, is that where you are headed this morning?”
“Yeah, although now I feel like I should not have mentioned it.”
“Not at all Robert the Writer, must be pretty important for you to brave the usual intriguing stenches of the Buses on route seven.” Barbara said as Robert’s composure returned.
“However, this also means we have to get off at the next stop, so hold on tight, most of these guys can drive, but stopping is another matter.”
The rows of skyscrapers spiraled into the sky above their heads as they watched the bus roll off into the distance. Barbara turned to Robert and pointed at the double revolving doors that lead into the building.
“You go up five floors, and turn left.”
“Thanks,” Robert said, glancing up at the fifth floor with new apprehension.
“I’d follow you in, but I have to go around the corner to the coffee place or I’m the one that will need saving before noon.”
“All right, thanks again, it was nice to meet you Barbara.”
Barbara smiled again and pointed up the street.
“The museum is about four blocks that way. Today they close early but they should be open beyond noon at least. I go there when the buses are behind, that way I don’t have to sit in back, the back of the bus can be bumpy at times.”
“So I’ve noticed, but why would I go to the museum at all?”
Nodding her head a couple times, Barbara pointed at the envelope in Robert’s hands. “ Now I know why your submitting here, we only do no non-fiction, you don’t seem to have much imagination”
“I am telling you about the museum’s hours so you can meet me back here at these doors at noon to take me to lunch Robert the Writer.”
With another smile and a flourish Barbara disappeared around the corner to get her coffee. Robert stood for a few moments in the sun, feeling that the day had all of a sudden got a little brighter and that the future had just grown a bit more promising.
Here are the rest of the folks that are participating in this months blog chain. Be sure to see what their ‘Second Chances’ were:
Participants and posts:
Turndog-Millionaire – http://turndog-millionaire.com/ (link to this month’s post)
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
magicmint – http://www.loneswing.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Tomspy77 – https://thomaswillamspychalski.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
MamaStrong – http://writingofme.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
in_one – http://quirkythomas.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
LilGreenBookworm – http://themayhemofwritingsahm-style.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
LiterateParakeet – http://lesliesillusions.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Diana_Rajchel – http://blog.dianarajchel.com/ (link to this month’s post)
sambgood – http://www.samanthabagood.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Bogna – http://bemaslanka.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
kiwiviktor81 – http://storygenerator.net/ (link to this month’s post)
AFord – http://af12.webs.com/ (link to this month’s post)
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
These Mean Streets – http://ohno-anotherwritingblog.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
areteus – http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Domoviye – http://living-working-in-china.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
julzperri – http://www.fishandfrivolity.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Nissie – http://www.paperheroes.net/ (link to this month’s post)