When the girl sat down next to me on the bus she didn’t introduce herself and neither did I. “Can I put this armrest down?” she asked. “Sure,” I replied. That is all we said from New York City to Washington D.C. I almost asked her if she was freezing too, but didn’t. She got off the bus. I got off the bus. And that was the last I’d see of her.
Until she walked into the bar All Souls the next night.
“There she is!” I told Kim and D.J. “There who is?” “The girl on the bus who asked if she could put the armrest down. She just walked in.” “Are you going to say anything?” “No! C’mon let’s just finish our drinks. Wait, look, she’s over there laughing with her friends.” “Why are you so in to what she’s doing?” “I’m not, but just what are the odds!” “I don’t know.” “No really, what are the odds?” “Well how many buses left that day from NYC to DC?” “Twelve.” “How many people were on each bus?” “60?” “Okay so 1 in 720?” “But she sat right next to me. What are the odds that a girl who sits right next to me on the bus also ends up right next to me at the bar? Far greater than 720. Or what’s the probability becuase the probability is different than the odds right? How do we find both of those?” This is where either my persistence or the alcohol caused them to give up. No one even looked like they were doing the math. “I don’t know,” D.J. said, “But you know I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason so don’t start with that.” (D.J. and I always get into discussions about that.) “So what do you think?” “I think D.C. is small and you both wanted to go out on Saturday night.” I sipped my drink and changed the subject. Case closed.
My bus was supposed to leave Sunday evening, but I was having too much fun and missed my bus decided to leave on Monday.
On Monday when everyone was settled in the bus driver said, “Family. Welcome on board! Take off your shoes and relax for a while. Today is a beautiful day. Wait, don’t take off your shoes, but I do want you to relax. My name is Kelvin with a K. Now do me a favor, family. Look at the person across from you.” I felt like I was in church. I looked at a girl watching House of Cards on her laptop and then at a guy who stopped texting to glance up. “Smile at these people and ask them about their day. Maybe see what they like to do on the weekend. Y’all might want to get a latte together one day. By the time you get off of this bus in New York City, I hope you at least get their name. If you ride with someone for hours then you should at least know their name. I told you mine. That’s Kelvin with a K. Now share yours. Oh and let me know if it’s too hot or too cold. My temperature in this box is different than yours so nust tell me. I don’t want anyone to suffer in silence. Now let’s ride!”
I wish Kelvin had been my bus driver the first time. I was freezing for hours and didn’t meet one person on that bus. We made it to New York in three and a half hours.I turned onto 33rd street and I saw the girl from the first trip. If I’m lying, I’m flying. “Hey,” I said. “Were you on my bus again!?” She looked like I was a complete stranger then her face softened. I didn’t mention seeing her in the bar on Saturday and if she saw me then she didn’t mention it either. “I just got off of the Megabus. I ended up staying a day later.” “Me too!” I said, perhaps with too much excitement. She smiled the way I’ve seen New Yorkers do. Not with teeth, not entirely inviting, but polite enough. I didn’t catch her name, but it’s not like we would be friends anyway. I just couldn’t help but think I was supposed to know her. I’ve never in my life seen the same stranger three times in one weekend. Then I heard D.J.’s voice in my ear. “You both live in New York and you both were returning from a holiday. It’s a coincidence. That’s it.” Maybe, it was. But, really, what are the odds?
Happy September and thank you to Kelvin (with a K) for letting me on that Boltbus a day later. Your enthusiasm, humor and kindness were greatly appreciated 🙂