Here’s the thing of it. One of my most favorite things to do in this life (there’s a long list of these things, but this is pretty close to the top) is to make up stories about people I don’t know. People I just see passing by.
Another thing I really enjoy is when the bus driver is actually talking to one of the passengers. It happens very rarely. The other day, and I’ve only seen this one other time here and few few times elsewhere, a lady was actually sitting in the very front seat, holding a whole long conversation with the bus driver. They were having lots of laughs and it was precious.
At the time, I was on the bus with Cory, and I told him about how much I love it when that happened, then about how much I love to make up stories about people. And then I told him about that couple. I told him they were having a conversation catching up about all the people they knew in their little barrio – that they had known each other since preschool and had grown up together. That the guy has always had a crush on the girl, but she has no idea. Of course, some part of her knows, but she ignores it, denies it, to make things easier, but the moment she climbs on his bus every day is about the happiest he gets.
We got to our stop at that point and got off the bus. We started walking, Cory and I, to my house but the story kept going. Because he’s a guy, I said, he naturally thinks about her when he touches himself. But he only fantasizes about really sweet shit – like, about their wedding, and sneaking off to fool around in the bathroom at the reception, or about being on their honeymoon, or doing it in their kitchen of their house someday. Here’s where Cory chimed in on the story, and I like when people help me write them. Yeah, he said, after they tuck their kids in to bed. Exactly, sez I. And, sez Cory, he’s got a cat named Chi Chi.
Dude, I said. You know that means titty. Well yeah, sez Cory, but he didn’t know that when he named Chi Chi. He was in preschool so he didn’t know any better, and it was cute so his mom let him keep the name. Well then, I said, that’s the magical part of the story, because if he named Chi Chi when he was in preschool, and he’s clearly around 30 now, Chi Chi happens to be immortal. Oh no, Cory corrected me, he went off at one point, to university or military or something, and Chi Chi died, but his mom replaced her.
Ah, no, sez I. It’s even better than that. The girl went to visit mom one day, because they live in the same barrio, and she saw mom crying. Mom told her that Chi Chi had passed and she didn’t know how to tell her son. The girl told her, don’t worry, leave it to me. She then proceeded to go all over Guadalajara, looking in every vet clinic, every pet shop, every animal shelter, every alleyway until she found the perfect replacement for Chi Chi. Some part of the guy knows something happened to Chi Chi while he was away, but that part also knows the girl had something to do with whatever happened, so he doesn’t mind and just overlooks it.
That was the end of the story until Kiki came home. I told Kiki the story and she had to go and get all logical and cynical on me. Why, she interrupted, at the part about the kitchen and the babies, are they having more babies? He’s just a bus driver, he has no money, he can’t support a family, and the last thing Mexico needs is more poor babies. And why doesn’t he just ask her out?
She was right, of course, and I hated it. And I thought about how much the bus driver guy probably knows all that and hates it too. And he thinks about it a lot, because the girl doesn’t always catch his bus, sometimes she gets on a bus before or after his, depending on when she gets out of work. One day, he was really deep in these depressive thoughts, and it was one of those days when the bus gets really crowded. When the girl got on, there wasn’t room to get on in the front, so she did like many do, and got on through the back door and passed her bus fare up to the front to get her ticket passed back. He didn't know she'd gotten on.
She had been thinking about him all day that day and at first she wasn’t sure why. But as the day rolled on, she realized that he was in love with her, and always had been, and that she had always been in love with him too. She had decided to tell him that day, somehow, even if it was cloaked in some other meaning, just to say, let’s go see a movie Sunday or something. So when she got on and it was crowded, she decided she would just ride the bus until it wasn’t anymore, even if it went past her stop, so she could talk to him. But the more she looked at his face in the mirror, the more she saw how depressed he was, and she knew she was the cause of it.
And the moment they went over the bridge, the moment he broke through the barrier to drive off the edge, the moment the bus became airborne and she knew they were going to die was the happiest moment of her life. She felt more complete in that moment than she ever had before. Sublime.