This text about a bus incident is part of my creative writing series.
It was Christmas Day, and I had to work from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. I was living in Pointe-Claire in the West Island and working at the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve CLSC in Montréal East, completely on the other side of the Island of Montréal, but I did not have a car or a driver’s licence, so I had to take a long bus and metro ride to go to work.
Since I was used to working on weekends, I knew I had to be careful in public transportation because a lot of strange people were in the metro at 7 a.m. I always held my bag tight, and tried not to fall asleep in the metro because once I was about to doze off, and I saw a homeless man coming too close to my purse. I had boarded the same bus as usual. At the traffic circle in Dorval, an old Anglophone man asked if he could sit next to me. I said no, since there were many free seats available on the bus, and there was no reason for him to be sitting next to me. He said he did not want to sit on the seats at the front of the bus because he wanted to leave them available for disabled people. Yet there were none on the bus.
At the Lionel-Groulx metro station
All the way to the bus stop to Lionel-Groulx metro station, the old man stood next to my seat and sometimes stared at me even though the bus was practically empty and he could have sat anywhere. I pretended that I did not notice him, and looked outside or at a book. I did not think it was necessary to tell the bus driver that he was bothering me because he had not really done anything wrong, except stand too close to my seat for nothing. When the bus arrived at its destination, I was careful to take the other path to avoid the strange man. Unfortunately, he managed to walk towards me on purpose when I was heading to the metro station entrance, and I saw his rotting teeth when he said to me: “I hope you become handicapped one day.”
When I was at work, I was still feeling bad about what the stranger had told me earlier. I mentioned it to a co-worker who asked me what I had done to deserve such a remark. I then had to tell him I had done nothing wrong, as though I had to justify receiving those random words of hatred.
This anecdote was originally written for a Magazine Writing class at Concordia’s Centre for Continuing Education.