Friday, April 28, 2017

Making Friends

                “Holy smokes,” said Teddy.

                He looked up at the darkening clouds rolling through the once blue sky.

                “It was so sunny, like, a second ago, now it’s like, midnight out here,” he said.

                Teddy nudged the guy next to him on the bus. The guy looked up from his phone and out the bus window.

                “Yeah. Weather. Amazing,” said the guy who then looked back down at his phone.

                “I mean, it is sort of amazing when you think about it; the atmosphere, the layers of stratosphere, the winds, the edges of space, ocean currents, the Earth’s rotation. I mean, yeah, it’s pretty amazing to say the least,” said Teddy.

                Teddy was bouncing in his bus seat. He had a broad smile across his wide face. He loved when the weather shifted in a real, visual way. There was something exciting about it for him. A good summer storm rolling in always reminded him of when he was a kid and he and his dad would put out the old folding chairs on the front porch and watch the thunderstorms and count the seconds between lightening flashes and the rumble of thunder. It gave him butterflies in his stomach, like playing hide and seek.

                The guy next to Teddy nodded his head. He was watching some sports news thing on his mobile phone, oblivious to the world around him. He tried to slide over a little bit away from Teddy to which Teddy was oblivious.

                “I tell you what, if I were younger, and had the means to get a real education. Not the HV/AC repair school I went to but a real education, like an Ivy League type of school, I totally would have become a weather man. Teddy the weather man.  Yes sir. That’d be me,” said Teddy.

                The guy next to Teddy tried to turn his body away, but the bus was getting crowded and there just wasn’t much space to turn. Teddy was absently tapping his hands on his knees as he swiveled his head back and forth to get a better look through the windows at the darkening morning sky.

                “Wow, just look at that rolling in, so dark. It is so wild. Just, wild,” said a gleeful Teddy.

                The guy sighed with noticeable exasperation and looked up out the window. He wanted to say something to Teddy, Teddy the weather man, about being quiet and maybe not talking so much to strangers. He wanted to say that maybe he shouldn’t bother people who are just trying to get to work and had to take the damn bus to get there because their wife left them a month ago because she was sleeping with his best friend and she left him with nothing. She took the car, the house, the money and his best friend, so if Teddy could kindly shut the hell up he’d really appreciate it. He really wanted to say that.

                The bus came to a hard stop and the passengers were flung forward. A few lost their balance but managed to hang on. There were groans and a few swears from the commuters.  There was a rumble in the ground that started shaking the bus.

                “Hm, that doesn’t seem right,” said Teddy.

                The guy next to Teddy looked toward the front of the bus, in the direction Teddy was looking.  Teddy was no longer smiling. He no longer had that warm, fun, excited butterfly feeling in his stomach.  Pedestrians on the sidewalk had stopped their mindless march between the buildings. People were trying to steady themselves by grabbing on the side of the tall buildings and light poles.  The wind had picked up and fast food wrappers and dust were swirling in the air.  The guy next to Teddy looked at him.

                “What’s going on,” he asked.
                “I don’t know. I think there’s a tornado, right in front of us. Or… I don’t know. Like I said I didn’t get that fancy ivy league education,” said Teddy.
                “A tornado? In the city,” said the guy.
                “Like I said, I don’t know, but it sure is strange,” said Teddy.

                A woman screamed at the front of the bus. The windshield cracked. People on the sidewalk started to run, pushing and yelling, trampling each other. A dog was barking wildly up at the pitch black morning sky. Teddy wondered who brings a dog downtown on a Tuesday morning.

                “What should we do,” asked the guy next to Teddy.
                Teddy shrugged and continued to watch out the window as a bolt of fire shot down from the sky and scorched the side of a building. A shower of burning concrete and glass and paper rained down on the bus. Teddy and the guy next to him ducked down and put their heads in between their knees. The bus was shoved violently to the left and the people on board screamed and fell over each other. A young man was screaming to be let off the bus while another started kicking at the rear window.

                “Oh my God. Oh my God. I’m so sorry Gwen. I’m so sorry I let you down. Please, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die,” pleaded the guy next to Teddy into his knees.

                Teddy put his arm over the shoulders of the guy next to him and pulled him close.

                “It’ll be okay. I’m Teddy by the way. What’s your name?”

                The guy next to Teddy turned his head to the right and met Teddy’s face very close to his.

                “I’m Ed. My name is Ed,” said Ed.

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