Rides not forgotten

By Noelle Lyons

At 6:45 a.m., I would get on the bus and walk back the 10 aisles to where my friends are seated. After five years we had settled into a routine, with the same seats awaiting our arrival with the same people meeting our gazes as we walked to the back of the Westchester bus.

“Did you watch ‘Glee’ last night?” someone would ask. Unanimous nods surrounded me, and we instantly launch into a discussion of how much funnier this episode was than the last one.

We were all regular riders, and if someone didn’t take the bus as frequently as us, our jokes would seem insensitive or just not funny at all.

However after meeting each other in seventh grade like most people at school, we’ve learned to ignore their annoyed stares and continue on with our jokes. Actions like these are ones only best friends can acquire, and while I do have friends that aren’t on the bus, it’s mostly these friends I relate to most.

We comforted one another when we had problems and had an unofficial rule that what we say on the bus stays on the bus.

We all live in the same neighborhood within a 15-minute radius, and commutes to each other’s houses were geographically feasible. Carpools then developed, thus bettering our relationships between one another, and between our parents.

If one of us missed the bus, it was so easy to text our friends and ask what stop it was at, thus reuniting us once more.

The hour long bus ride is more than enough to get a better understanding of our friends before everyone else did when they saw us arrive at school, throw our sports bags near the Taper gym and stroll in through the quad.

We would all walk in together, and most often head toward the cafeteria where we would meet up with other friends who weren’t on the bus.

They would have no knowledge of what we had been previously talking about, and that was okay. Together we would merely walk, or run—depending how late the bus was—to our first period class.

For the past five years, I’ve had numerous bus drivers. Some were fired, some got other jobs and some just didn’t return the next day. And the next one that would replace them would be forced to learn the whole bus route all over again.

They came so often, we stopped bothering to learn their names and just gave them nicknames for us to remember. One was the “certificate guy,” who complained that if we didn’t stop standing up so much he was going to lose his bus certificate, and thus lose his job. That was back in eighth grade, and the list goes on and on.

Then they would show up to our stops late, and we were left telling them the direction to school so we could get there on time. Bus drivers came and went, but friends were forever.

Gradually, one by one, we all got our drivers licenses and became less frequent riders. Instead, wenow park on Coldwater and meet up in the quad. It’s not the same.

I miss the discussions we had, the songs we sang together until people gave us death stares. These were moments I can’t take back, and most are left up to memory.