Blow. Pop. Chew.

Jamie cracked her gum, wondering how she'd ended up at a bus station. She knew physically how, but the why evaded her. None of it made sense.

Her mother would know, of course. She would sit in front of Jamie, patiently explaining it all.

But still none of it would make sense.

The thought of her mother made Jamie clamp down viciously, and her gum snapped loudly, louder than she'd expected.

The balding man glared as he slid down the bench away from her, pulling his briefcase onto the lap of his gray suit.

Jamie sighed, her mind circling back to her original question. Without thinking about it, she pushed a few stray blonde strands behind her ears before they whirled back out in the wind.

This time, she let them stay as they were.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

Aimlessly, Jamie watched the cars whizzing past her. So many of the passengers were involved within, but now and again, someone would glance out to the bus stop, then let their eyes slide back to the road. Back to their own lives.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

Suddenly, a car pulled over in front of the bench. Jamie felt a twinge as she watched the couple kiss, then another as they turned to the boy and girl in the backseat, both battling for their parents' full attention. The mother finally pulled herself out of the car, still laughing. She stayed standing, waving, until the car was out of sight, then sat on the bench next to the man.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

As Jamie sat, she wondered what her father would think if he saw her there. Her father.

He could think anything, for all she cared. The man she hadn't seen for three years, at least. How would he even know she was at a bus stop?

Blow. Pop. Chew.


She tensed at the sound, her back stiffening. How had they managed to find her here?

A boy sat down next to her. Jamie let her hair block her sight, so she did not have to see him. All she wanted was to be alone.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

The wind blew, a sudden, sharp gust. Jamie's hair swirled wildly, pulled away from her face, softly whipping the boy's cheek. Mixing with his brown curls.

She knew this boy.

He was in her math class. Brandon? Or was it Bradley?

"Hey, Jamie."

"What do you want?" Even if she knew this boy, she did not need him. She did not want him.

"Brian Johnson. We have class together, remember?"

Of course she remembered. But she didn't want to talk then. She wanted to sit and be unrecognized. Be simply a face among many.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

When Jamie didn't respond, Brian stretched out his legs and settled onto the bench. He was quiet for a moment.

"You could probably say I want the same thing you want."

"What?" Jamie was startled, her head snapping up quickly.

"I'm waiting for the bus to come. I want to get on it. Isn't that the same as you?"

Jamie shrugged, looking down again. She stayed quiet, letting her heartbeat return to its normal pace. He wouldn't know what she wants. He couldn't.

If her mother couldn't figure it out, this boy couldn't, either.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

At last, Brian seemed to recognize that Jamie did not want to talk.

He stayed silent, watching the road as Jamie had earlier.

This time, however, Jamie found the silence oppressive. Found herself wishing the boy would say something. Would try talking to her again.

She waited.

He did not speak.

Jamie opened her mouth, as if to talk to him. She shut it quickly. Inside, she struggled to find words to say.

"What – where are you going?"

The words spilled out painfully. Hurriedly.

The boy, however, did not seem to mind.

He shifted, hardly turning, but enough to let Jamie know he was listening. He was there.

"I'm actually not going anywhere."

"But – then why are you here?" Jamie spoke as if she expected the boy to turn away at any minute. To walk away from her.

Brian grinned, but just barely. Jamie almost missed it.

"I'm waiting for my aunt. She and my cousin are coming in on the bus."

Jamie did not know how to respond to this. Should she ask about his aunt? His cousin? Why they were coming?

"So," Brian started, bringing Jamie back from her thoughts. "Are you waiting to get on? Or is someone coming?"

Jamie shrugged, retreating again. She could not tell the boy there was no reason she sat at the bus station. He wouldn't understand. It would sound ridiculous.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

Then Jamie remembered.

"You're waiting for your aunt and cousin?"

Brian nodded.

"But you said you want to get on the bus."

"Wanting and doing are two different things, Jamie," Brian told her. "Are you doing what you want?"

Jamie stared out at the street without seeing. What did she want? Why was she doing what she did?

A light touch startled Jamie. She looked down to see Brian lay his hand on top of hers.

"You're going to have to let him go, Jamie. You can't hold on forever. He wouldn't want you to. For your sake."

Jamie raised her head to find Brian looking her in the eye for the first time.

"And this bus can't bring you to him, or him to you, no matter how much you want it to."

Jamie opened her mouth, but no words came out. She felt Brian's hand slip away from hers as he stood up. He smiled, and Jamie just barely caught it again. She watched Brian walk away from the bench towards the bus, which had just pulled up.

She was alone again.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

Blow. Pop. Chew.

Suddenly, Jamie wanted to go home. She was sick of the bus station. She wanted to see her mother.

Before walking away, Jamie threw out her gum.

She didn't want it anymore.

REVISED: 10/4/2006

AN: Well, here's my first short story! It's kind of my baby, so I've been too nervous to put it up for a while. Thus said, flames would make me really upset, but constructive criticism is welcome! And, well, if you like the story, you can say that, too. :)

P.S. What do you think is really going on with Jamie? I was trying to leave it a bit more open, so it can really be interpreted a ton of different ways. I'd like to hear what you think. (To tell the truth, I literally wrote this story without any plot thought out. I just wrote it as you see it now.) Thanks a bunch!