17 hours isn't too long


What if the worst journey of your life ironically became the most memorable one? What if that one journey that makes you cross your fingers every time you remember is the same journey that makes you wish to experience it again? What if?
The bus to transport me to the big city has arrived just when I was weary of waiting for it at the terminal where the scent of the dried fish products penetrated my shirt. I went into the bus with a sling, a shoulder and a handy bag all loaded with my stuffs. I comfortably sat down and placed my baggage at my side since the trip is going to last for 17 hours. From my hometown, I have to ride a bus for an hour to get to Masbate City, from there; I will take a four-hour sea cruise to reach Pilar, Sorsogon. Only there will I ride a bus directly to Manila (the Philippines’ capital) for 12 hours. All in all, 17-I-don’t-know-how-will-pass-hours.
Seated in a nice position, I leaned my head right next to the window pane where the mountain tops with its dense trees stood visibly. Everything was close to perfection if only the bus conductor did not interrupt. “Miss, you are not supposed to sit there, that seat has been reserved”, he impolitely said. “Seat number 10 is for you”, he continued. After giving him a “So what?” look, I stood up and followed his order.
Seat number 10? Oh there’s no way I can enjoy this journey knowing that the one right next to me is a young man of 23 (I guess), who has stolen my heart by the first gaze he has given. What if I get nauseated and vomit in front of him (I have my plastic cellophanes anyway)? The thought irritated me that I only gave him a distant smile when he warmly smiled at me first. We reached Masbate City, occasionally looking each other but without exchanging words. His skin, his scent and his looks are soft but manly.
The bus was loaded to the ship that will take us to Pilar, Sorsogon. The sea voyage was really bad because of the heavy rains and huge waves, plus the cold winds that occasionally blow. The sky wore its ugliest face too, making me frown in the sight that it offers. Also, the thought of the man beside me made the journey more terrible. I’m madly attracted to him, but he doesn’t seem to bother. Time runs so slow that it makes me feel like dying.
After four hours of sea cruise, at last I’m twelve hours away from my destination but the travel is by land and I am more vulnerable to vomiting this way. I just brought out a heavy sigh as I am battling with the acids that surge inside my mouth. I was unable to control myself that the food I consumed earlier came rushing out of my mouth. It produced a stinky smell. Thank God, the man beside me is asleep, if not? I could have drowned in shame.
I can hear his soft voice as he sings with the music played in the bus. I woke up with an aching back, forgetful of what a shameful incident I did a while ago. During the bus stop, he talked to me. Only then that I started talking and found no time to stop until we both fell asleep. When I woke up again; we were leaning at each other. I closed my eyes and pretended that I was asleep because I enjoyed that moment.
We arrived in Manila where everything has to stop, including my illusions. It was too late when I realized that he was gone with the crowd. We didn’t even have the time to say goodbye. The worst is that I don’t even know his name.
Its eight months after that journey with the man I swiftly fell in love with but every memory is still fresh in me as if it was only yesterday. I considered it the worst of my life since my heart found its completeness but it was immediately broken by a man I barely know. That journey makes my fingers cross and makes me wish to experience it again.



R Rapsing

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