Everyone’s lookin’ to get somewhere
Bus Full of Storytellers
Runaway Teenagers.
I tried to keep up with the words on the page, I really did. But I was getting sleepier and sleepier by the minute. It was dark outside anyways, the only light being an occasional street light. I closed my book, as it’s not good to read in a moving vehicle. A greyhound, that is. It smells like gasoline in here. God, do I loathe greyhound buses. I looked over to Carrie, and tiredly asked “Where’d you say we were going again?” “My aunt’s place. She’s nice, nicer than anyone’s been to me, really.” She looked down sadly, her emerald green eyes complementing her dirty blonde hair, which had bangs on the front.
Her mother really made her have it for cutting those bangs herself, but if you’d asked me, I would’ve said they looked pretty. Goes real good with eyes like hers.
I’d met her when I got detention one Saturday. “Hey.” She looked at me sheepishly. “Um, I know this isn’t the place to do it, but my mom said I had to make friends sometime or later. I’m Carrie.” I didn’t mind, she seemed decent enough. “Jamie.” We shook hands.”So.... Whaddya in for?” “SHHH!” The lady at the detention desk apparently didn’t appreciate my New Jersey accent, and therefore didn’t appreciate obvious humor. Ugh. We stopped talking then and there, but then she started writing on her desk and handed the paper to me.
Hey, I know we’re not allowed to talk, but the lady sitting in that chair never said anything about writing to each other. I got in because I was cheating on a test. It’s all my blame, but in my defense, algebra’s a total and complete monster, you get me? So, what about you? Why are you in here?
I look at the cursive writing, written in glittery purple pen. God, I wish my handwriting was this nice. What was a girl with pretty, feminine writing like this doing in detention? Are you sure she cheated on that test?
Ye Olde Scantron Cheat, eh?Well, my Spanish teacher was peeved with me and my “smart mouth”, so he landed me here. He told me I was “doing other people’s dirty work and never my own”, and I just told him I merely let a fella or two copy my homework, and frankly, helping out my fellow students drastically more than he was. Well, he didn’t like that, and told me to, as they say in the Spanish language, “Salga de la puerta.”
As she read my note, she quietly laughed to herself, and we passed notes the entire detention period.
So, if life’s so great for me and Carrie, why were we running away from home? Answer’s simple; Life isn’t great. It feels like the headache you get when you sleep on the wrong side of the bed, drink to much coffee and discover that coffee doesn’t keep you energized at all and in fact just keeps you from falling asleep, giving you hell to experience. You flunk a test on your best subject, and to top it all off, you scrape your knee on the sidewalk and have to cover it with band aids like some kind of grade school kid.
So yeah, it sucked. People were always telling me I had a “mean face” and were always telling me things like “That attitude’ll get you nowhere” and “You think it’s hard now? Wait till you’re something something years old and blah blah blah” and “In five years, if you keep acting like this, you’re going to end up working in a fast food restaurant at blah blah blah blah blah blah etc.” Even from my own mom. There isn’t anything wrong with me, really, I get decent grades and all, but I honestly can’t help that I’ve got a big mouth sometimes.
So I ran away. I was done with it all. Carrie ran away with me because the poor lady had to listen to her parents argue every day and they used her to make excuses to take sides and fight with each other. Her siblings ignore her, and she’s pretty sure they don’t think she exists sometimes. Her teachers never call on her in class, and to top it all off, her good for nothing boyfriend broke up with her because she was “too ugly and shapeless.” Honestly, he’s blinder than a bat if he’s saying that, but Carrie deserves better than him anyways. She cried that day. I’d seen her. She’s a real soldier, though. After a while, she wiped her tears from her face and said “Whatever. I don’t need him wasting my time anyways. If nobody likes me, then I guess I gotta have my own back for a while. Let’s go, Jamie.”
So yeah. Nobody wanted us back home, so we decided to disappear to a place where they might want us. We’d finally stopped at a place, a motel. Vacancy. No roaches anymore, apparently. We’d see to that in a minute. We have color television! That’d sound exciting! If we were living in the 1940s.
When we entered the room, Carrie went into the bathroom to take a shower. I changed into my pajamas and check for bugs under the covers. No cockroaches, as promised, although it does sort of smell like cigarette smoke. I switched through the television channels for a while until Carrie finally came out of the shower, her usual short, blonde hair, now looking long and mouse brown due to the effects of shower water. “Uh.. Jamie..” “Oh, sorry. I won’t look.”
She changed into dull blue pajamas, not the usual girly stuff she wore. We bargained on whether to watch The Theory Of Gravity, a slightly humorous show about physics nerds, or Our Favorite Is Barry, which is about a guy who’s actually nobody’s favorite, because he was generally an annoying person to be around. We suddenly came across the Spectacle Channel.We learned all about why we’re in the situations that we were in. My mom got pregnant with me at only seventeen, and had to give up anything that even started as a dream, or aspiration, or some kind of hope for her future. She wished someone would care to spend time with her, because most of the time, she was too lonely to bear.
Carrie’s parents had argued so much because her mother and father initially had children because her mother had wanted them. It had always been her dream to have a child. And for a while, they were happy and satisfied with each other. And that was the side of her parents that Carrie couldn’t ever be fortunate enough to see that side of her parents, or even be alive and existing then. Gradually, her mother grew unsatisfied with her father and wanted him to work more, to be more of a fatherly figure, go out with his friends less, stay in with his children more, take his sons out for fishing, take his daughters out shopping, forget he had a life before this, forget he ever had one at all.
Ultimately, it pushed him to cheat on her mother just to calm his nerves. And so that was why they were constantly fighting and were currently filing a divorce. We found out secrets about each other, too. It was kind of embarrassing, but it got everything out of the way, even if we were making dumb excuses for our actions.
“Why didn’t you tell me that? I wouldn’t have minded.”
“Well, uh, I just didn’t want you to think I was sensitive.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about that sooner?”
“You never really asked me, so...”
The next day, we’d finally gotten to our destination, Carrie’s aunt’s house. Her aunt wasn’t that bad herself, she was the type who was more like a grandmother than an aunt, really. There was the smells of fresh baked cookies and everything. That night we just kind of talked about everything and nothing at all. Before I knew it, I was talking about how I wished for a puppy in grade school and wanted to travel the world in middle school, and that desire didn’t quite disappear when I entered high school, either, even when all those people told me I’d just end up forgotten, working at a burger joint, because nobody could really ever touch the hopes I have.
Carrie told me that when she was little, she wanted to become an astronaut and touch the moon, stars, and clouds, and wander around in outer space, communicating with all kinds of aliens and being a sort of space guardian for Earth. She’d bring down a star from a sky and show all her family and her friends. She’d visit every single planet in the solar system and beyond, and bringing back little pieces of experiences down from each one.
I got sleepy from listening to her voice, and had a dream that Carrie got me and my mother in her rocket and we flew to Pluto, and we gathered every kind of pretty rock from the surface and it had amethysts, lapis lazuli, rubies and sapphires and garnets and jadestones and jaspers and quartzes. We wondered whether or not we should head home, and we decided to just stay there and watch the stars turn and the comets and asteroids streak across the sky and the belts of red, pink, blue, purple, yellow, and orange clouds streak across the sky as the universe moved. We’d brought a radio, and somehow, although you’re not supposed to hear sound in space, blasted early 90s music for all those in outer space to hear. I lie my head on Carrie’s shoulder, and then I
Woke up to the sound of Carrie’s aunt to tell me to hurry and get ready, my mom was here. I groaned as I got ready for the day. Mom is going to kill me once I come downstairs to talk to her, probably going to yell at me and ask me what the heck I was thinking when I ran off and all. She looked at me with a slightly agitated look, but then it quickly broke into a pleading look, tears in her eyes. She ran up and embraced me in her arms as tightly as possible. “Oh, Jamie, I’m so, so sorry I yelled at you like that a few days ago, I just didn’t know what to do, and all I could think about was how I didn’t want you to end up like I did when I was your age, and I guess I didn’t listen a bit to what your say was at all, I caused this, I’m so sorry..” She cried, her tears getting on my blue jacket.
“Well, that’s alright,” I thought. “It’s washable.”
“Let’s go home. I bought ice cream.”
Carrie looked glum as she finished her breakfast. Suddenly, her dad came into the room, looking as glum as Carrie. “Hey, uhm, princess. I’m real sorry about what made you run away. Y’know, with the divorce and all.. And your boyfriend breaking up with you.. Y’know, I should’ve talked to you about that,I just... I dunno about any of this stuff at all. I’m not sure if I was ever meant to have kids. I’m real sorry, doll. I’m a terrible husband.. And even worse of a father figure..” He choked up, unable to speak. “It’s okay, dad. You tried your best, and in my opinion, that ain’t so bad at all.” She smiled up at her true father. “Let’s go home, huh?”
I sighed as I counted the amount of notebook paper that this story took up. This would be way too many pages for a “short story,” therefore I could never turn this in to my creative writing teacher. Whatever. I’ll shorten it to make it not as long as before. I rip out every page, from Jamie and Carrie’s time in detention to fathers being reassured that yes,they’re good enough. I sighed as I crumpled the papers up and put it in the wastebasket. Maybe someday someone would wanna read about big kids

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