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 4 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

3 Weeks 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

Damn. Such sharp contrast. The beautiful innocence of the interaction on the school bus was so sweet and full of potential, followed by the despicable acts that happened behind closed doors.

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Weeks Ago

I love using contrast in writing, so I very much appreciate that you enjoyed that aspect of my story.. read more
It is heart breaking to read something unimaginable that happened to such a beautiful soul! What makes me mad is your mom not standing up to your father, and protecting her children. You are one brave young lady. All we can do is send you hugs and kisses and tell you you are a remarkable person. Um beijo.

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Weeks Ago

For most of my life, I defended my mother, saying she was his victim too. The thing that was hard is.. read more
Mrudula Rani

4 Weeks Ago

I pray that you grow stronger and healthier every day Margie- um beijo
This was amazing! I dont believe i make for a very good reviewer but this story was very powerful and captivating

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Weeks Ago

Your sincerity makes you a PERFECT reviewer! I know my childhood is hard for many people to fathom, .. read more
Margie, you say this is a true story? Jeez. It starts so softly and, yes, very much in Sam's style, but my goodness. What follows is awful, but you know that. I'm not sure I can say much beyond admiring your guts to write and release this for others to read. It's very hard to make any comments about how you've written it, but I'm struck by the matter of fact style that doesn't seek the readers' anguish or sympathy. It just sets it out.

I simply cannot comprehend how adults can do these things to anyone, but especially their own children. And as you know, we've just had these last few days this court case of the couple accused of keeping their kids prisoner for year after year. I don't understand this world that contains people who could do such things.

Bravo Margie!

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Weeks Ago

The full story is much worse than this little glimpse I've shown here. I can only dig out a little s.. read more
First, I thank you for sharing this story. While it was painful to read, I can't imagine the pain and anguish you experienced then (and maybe when writing this story). Knowing more about you and your background makes your writing richer to me.

Second, how you wrote this story says more about you than the story itself. You started this story and spent most of your words on "John." Clearly, even as you endured hell in your own home, your sympathy for him and his brother shined through. That's the beauty of humanity, in my mind---the willingness and ability to care for another person while you're bleeding out (emotionally or physically). Thanks again for sharing this one!

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Weeks Ago

I was born a tough old biddy. I've watched the way my sisters & others were crushed by childhood tra.. read more
A beautiful beginning and a dark end. Your story is quite colorful in the sense that, I can see everything, as if I was there. In addition to this, your language is exquisite and I admire your ability to travel deeper into the lives of others. We see two kids who both suffer in their own homes. However, what surprised me the most, was the unpredictable finale. Your message is purely striking and I am fascinated by the way your words interact with each other. Incredible work!

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Weeks Ago

I enjoy contrast in writing, so I like to put something delightful next to something harsh. Thank yo.. read more
PandaPeaceful

4 Weeks Ago

You make me laugh. Some are devoured by darkness when they write, yet you fly when your create bliss.. read more

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

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



About
Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

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