Riding the Beast

At first, everything is as still as a photograph.

The bus stop is engulfed in a stony silence that lingers like a musty, thick fog.

The Monday morning has taken its toll on my fellow school-goers. Their eyes are red-rimmed and bordered by hastily-applied eyeliner, screaming for more sleep.

Clad in knitted sweaters and snow boots, it is apparent that winter has so unpleasantly wedged its way into our lives.

I can see my breath, spiraling up towards the heavens in puffy clouds as the cold bites at my knuckles.

All of the sudden, there is a roar from the horizon, slicing through the silence like a knife through butter.

The beast has come at last.

Thundering, chugging, charging through a forest of pavement, the beast is a gargantuan monster of the road.

It bounds over the frosty hills, a flash of sunflower- yellow contrasting against the dismal grey of February.

It runs on paws of pitch-black rubber, only stopping inches away from the bus stop.

Letting out an exhausted sigh, the beast crouches in front of me.

Head-light eyes stare me down with a frightening intensity.

With a belch, the beast opens its mouth revealing a metal stairwell.

My companions and I willingly step into the jaws of this colossus, and think nothing of being swallowed alive.

The monster's stomach consists of a narrow isle and a rib cage of leather benches.

The walls are rimmed with lights casting weak pools of pale yellow over the faces of fellow riders.

The soft lull of the radio flows from the speakers, a burnt-out star of past decades crooning from the grave.

I nestle in the comforting palm of a seat.

The fabric feels like elephant skin as I run my fingers over its crinkled surface.

With a jolt and a deafening howl, the beast is back in motion.

It continues to scramble up steep slopes, past twinkling traffic lights, and under canopies of pine and maple.

I rest my head against the chilled window and relish in the bliss of a quiet bus ride.

Soon, we will go our separate ways.

The beast will spit out all passengers and clamber over to the bus barn while I trudge through frigid slush to school, but for now, I can rest easy in the belly of this highway titan.