School Bus Bliss

School Bus Bliss

A Story by barleygirl
"

true story . . .

"


I was eleven and he was ten. I’d started life as a city-girl, but at that time navigating a new country-bumpkin life. He’d never lived anywhere else but the sprawling dry-farm ranch in his family forever. I finally got up the courage to sit by him on the school bus. He was so shy, his fuzzy fair cheeks went pink momentarily as he placed his metal lunchbox between us for protection. Neither of us could spit out a single word. We would soon be dropped off at the last two stops on a long bus ride way out in the boondocks where stops were miles apart.

Sitting by John that first time, my stomach was a-flutter. He wouldn’t even look at me, sitting so close, right there beside him. For a while I felt dumbfounded, staring down at his dirty khaki pants that were torn, revealing a scabbed knee. Gaps between the tops of his socks and the hem of his pants revealed white flaky skin on the calves of his legs. Eventually I got up the courage to look at his face, only inches from my face, but he kept staring earnestly out the window as rustic countryside bumped on by. Suddenly my face was burning a red hot blush.

I thought I saw him glance at my bright pink fishnet stockings covering gangly legs below my flowered mini-skirt. All the other girls at our four-room schoolhouse wore longish pleated plaid skirts with bobby socks and oxfords. Maybe I was too city-fied for him. I opened my bright pink patent leather purse and pulled out a pack of juicy-fruit gum. Holding out the package for John, I waited for him to acknowledge me. His timid smile was worth the wait. As we chewed, we shared goofy smiles. The two other kids on the school bus (my brother and his brother) disappeared for a few miles.

On the sharp Harris creek curve, bumpy pavement and centrifugal forces pushed me across the six inches that separated us. I felt my cool bare arm press against John’s hot bare skin. Pulling away, he crammed himself against the windowpane, as if this brief contact was too uncomfortable for him. Since his bus stop was at the bottom of the curve, our afterschool happenstance ended in a jumble of confused embarrassment and fleeting final glances.

I watched as John kicked rocks down his long dusty driveway, walking slowly and dejectedly beside his brother, who was dragging a stick along in the dirt. I couldn’t have imagined the scene that greeted these sad-looking ragamuffins.

A year prior, their father blew the top of his head off with a handgun, but he didn’t die. Much later on, their mom confessed to my mom that this had changed her husband into a mean-spirited zombie. When the brothers walked into their kitchen, they found mom peeling carrots and fixing dinner. She tried to humor their dad as he sat at the kitchen table spinning the cylinder of his six-shooter, and then pressing it against the newly-healed crater in his skull, threatening to finish the job. Night after night this torment played out in their house.

No, I couldn’t have imagined the scene that John faced because I quickly forgot our brief interlude of bliss on the school bus. I was gearing up and hardening my heart so I could endure the nightly nightmare in my own childhood home.

After dinner, after feeding my rabbits and walking the family dog, I holed up in my bedroom listening to Carole King’s “Tapestry” album over and over and over on my portable turntable. I tried to drown out the sound of bedsprings bouncing beneath my sisters, squeaking through thin walls as dad made his way down the hall of bedrooms. Each night I dreaded being included in his habitual ritual. Sometimes I was, but not nearly as often as my older sisters. I imagined that he left me alone sometimes because he couldn’t stand how I let him know with my body language: no dad, you’re NOT world’s greatest lover.

My brother escaped to the travel trailer in the yard that he had staked out as his bedroom. Mom stepped hard on her sewing machine pedal, making it roar as she refused to face what went on in our house every evening for years.




© 2018 barleygirl



Author's Note

barleygirl
Inspired by Samuel Dickens' amazing storytelling . . .

My Review

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Featured Review

It's hard to say anything that doesn't seem trite when I read these two stories. The first one, of the pre-teen crush, I can definately identify with. The intensity of that feeling stays a lifetime and I bet john still remembers that bus ride. The second part is unbearably painful to be party to. I know a few who have had similar experiences and whose lives have been a cycle of depression and councelling that only seems to perpetuate the pain. Your own affirmation of 'loving life and sharing your blessings' is a very positive and courageous outlook that I'm sure has helped others.
Respect Margie!
Alan
Oh - and great writing!

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Thank you for painting me such a vivid picture of how my writing comes across! That's a gift that ke.. read more



Reviews

So raw, honest and beautifully written. I know it must have been a labor of tears for you to write this Margie. I have no words- just love and hugs and empathy. Your story touched my heart. Thank God you are here in this world to speak your truth. Xo

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Weeks Ago

In the autumn of my life, I do not feel any pain when I write about my tough childhood. I can't writ.. read more
Dear Margie, you wear your words like armour in this, yet pain pushes its way in and out.. tis more than sad.. more than anything. With these words you've climbed a peak that imagination never can - scarred emotions are too deep, too complex, to describe. A superb telling by a superb woman. (Margie)

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

I find that I cannot linger on this topic for very long, nor can I spit out the deep devastation tha.. read more
emmajoy

1 Month Ago

Sending you a far away friend's real affection. No need to respond, Margie.. unless you need me.
Great work here. Smooth, yet strong concept. Read a number of times. Keep it up.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

"Read a number of times" is a comment I will keep in my heart for a long time! That's the best compl.. read more
A gentle opening story of a schoolgirl "crush" descending into a horror story, which then turns out to be far removed from fiction.
How such people can be so evil, without any restraint seems impossible, but when this exists even in the upper echelons of society, even the judiciary is suspect.
A courageous personal story, that reveals so much trauma, but also shows personal fortitude.
I can add no more......
(((Hugs))) N.



Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

I very much enjoy when I see other writers presenting jarring contrasts in their stories. That's why.. read more
This is so very, very sad Margie but way worse than that because you have raised issues that are far more prevalent than many might imagine. I hope you have eventually found some peace & urge you to keep writing. All Good Things, your friend, Neville

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Thank you for your sweet & understanding friendship always (((HUGS))) The "Me,too" movement has not .. read more
Wow
I commend you you are a true survivor and the way you write this I felt I was there
I love your style and will come back to read more
Xxxxx

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Thank you so much for your uplifting review! I try to give back with my writing becuz of all those w.. read more
Juliespenhere.

4 Weeks Ago

You are welcome
Thankyou year
Juliespenhere.

4 Weeks Ago

Year was typo
It's hard to say anything that doesn't seem trite when I read these two stories. The first one, of the pre-teen crush, I can definately identify with. The intensity of that feeling stays a lifetime and I bet john still remembers that bus ride. The second part is unbearably painful to be party to. I know a few who have had similar experiences and whose lives have been a cycle of depression and councelling that only seems to perpetuate the pain. Your own affirmation of 'loving life and sharing your blessings' is a very positive and courageous outlook that I'm sure has helped others.
Respect Margie!
Alan
Oh - and great writing!

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Thank you for painting me such a vivid picture of how my writing comes across! That's a gift that ke.. read more
Powerful! Mesmerizing! You knew I would embrace this. A mixture of the beautiful and the awful, you've skillfully shown how fiction is sometimes no match for reality. I'm so happy to have had anything to do with this gem of a story.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

This feels like a million dollars, so I'm on my way to the bank! *wink! wink!* Getting such a review.. read more
heart rending Barely babe ... sucks the breath from me ..well done ..those simple innocent childhood experiences in contrast to the home show up the deceptions all in those families uphold ....totally believable ... i'm on the bus ...that little boy blushing and blooming and in those homes watching in horror but praying for light ..well done..strong voice ..no kidding ma'am!
E.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

You are one of the most beautiful souls I know these days (((HUGS))) You get me like many people don.. read more
Margie - I am awed by you! Having experienced what you did and still manage to write about love and beauty with such integrity. You are an amazing woman!

Take care - Dave

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

I have been blessed with friends that heard me out when I was pouring out my pain, back in my 20's. .. read more

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Added on January 19, 2018
Last Updated on January 19, 2018

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

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