Its 5:30 in the afternoon. The sunlight kissing the faraway mountains is golden and is a delight to see. such a view will linger for only just a bit before giving way to houses and buildings, children crossing the streets, and slow-moving vehicular traffic. Josh Groban sang “you raise me up” for the second time already, and i just finished eating the tuna potato croissant that i bought at the stopover. again i am on a bus on the way back to the metro.
The bus conductor should know me by now, as i pretty much memorized his face already, what with me riding this specific bus almost every week. Yes, if one leaves at a particular time, one is bound to come across the same bus over and over again. This particular bus conductor maintains, should i say, a very detached, i’m-a-conductor-and-i’m-just-doing-my-job kind of dealing with his passengers. Discounting the fact that he almost sees me every week, i have yet to see a yes- i-recognize-you kind of smile from him the moment he sees me waiting at my usual post at the bus stop fronting the local mall.
Not that i am turning it into such a big a deal, i just happen to compare his poker face reaction with that of another conductor and driver tandem from another, earlier timeslot that i use to take. This tandem would smile the moment they see me and greet me like i’m someone they know like a friend, tropa or barkada. Such is the warmth of reception that the smile will increase my happy levels to several notches up for a good part of the travel.
I even remember one particular encounter with kuya konduktor landing the dinner table conversation one weekend, for kuya konduktor attempted to strike a conversation with me while punching my destination on the ticket. It turned out that manong driver and himself apparently had the theory that i am a med student because aside from always travelling with a large backpack, i also had with me during those times that i ride their bus, papers that i read and go over for almost the duration of the travel. I do not remember anymore what were the papers i was carrying during that particular period, but somehow the remark stuck. What were they thinking, mistaking me for a med student? Why not a law student? Do i smell like i just bathed in a truckload full of disinfectant? Hehehe.
the landscape has changed now. We are already accelerating in speed, having just reached the tollbooth and paid toll for use of the expressway. There are no faraway mountains to see now, no sunlit fields, only distant lights from little houses scattered in what i could only make up as vast patches of rice field to the left and right of the highway. Night has descended, catching me unaware. I look up toward the digital clock at the end of the aisle. The red digits tell me its already 6:56 pm. I still have a long way to go before reaching my destination. At the back of my head, i’m hoping that i reach the laundry shop in time, before it closes for the night, otherwise i’ll have no uniform to wear tomorrow, which is not a good thing, considering it’s the start of the week. Sigh. A typical Sunday in the life of gentle.