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I can’t see beyond. How annoying…

Tucking her chin in and directing her gaze up as far as she could without looking as if she was a crazed young lady showing the whites of her eyes, she struggled to maintain a façade of nonchalance and world-weary boredom that teenagers and young adults all over the world try to portray with varying degrees of success. It was all she could do not to fidget in her seat, or worse, get up and wander along the aisle so that she could peer at her object(s) of fascination from different angles.

It never ceased to amaze her how blind others could be, how incurious about their surroundings they often were…the general absence of life or perhaps the love of life was appalling to her. The light turned green then. The bus stopped its impatient shudder and rumbled ahead, emitting a grateful series of coughs and sputters that worked out into a soft purr. Heaving an inward sigh, she stifled her curiosity and stuffed it into a little corner of her mind as the bus took her farther and farther away from the little piece of mystery she was contemplating only moments ago.

It was nothing, just a little piece of sky visible among the canopy of trees. Pretty, like fine lace crocheted from different shades of green laid across an expanse of creamy blue. There was a particularly big (well, bigger than the rest) piece of blue among the green, and she was having fun fitting its shape to her imagination. It looked like part of a finger, crooked in a ‘c’mon’ gesture almost like a taunt. It also resembled the tip of a bird’s wing, a dolphin’s snout, and strangely enough, part of the speculum used in a pap smear.

If only I could see more…Then I can figure out what it is.

She knew that there was no ‘right’ answer. Like cloud reading where the same shapes often evoke different images in the minds of different individuals, this too was subject to the whims of her mind. Besides, there might be nothing more beyond the edge of the window…at least, nothing to complete the pictures she had seen with her mind’s eye. Anyway, with the bus moving ever forward, she had little choice but to leave curiosity’s little thirst unquenched.

But is there really no finding out? I can get off the bus, I suppose. There’s always another way to go to school.

Closing her eyes, she began to let her mind wander. It didn’t disappoint her. It raced ahead like a mischievous imp, snatching pieces of thoughts floating around the edges of her consciousness and fitting them together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Snap. Click. Lock. Voilà! Look at this idea. You had it all along. Just needed some help to build upon it. Some sort of trigger.

Sly, insolent little imp.

Nevertheless, she followed the imp’s lead as if compelled and started to examine the thoughts brought forth as the bus sped on towards the university.

Just as wandering along the aisle (politely and without shoving other standing passengers, of course) in an attempt to piece together a bigger picture as compared to the fragment that one gets when confined to a particular spot on the bus is behaviour that would likely raise some eyebrows, questions and curiosity are not welcomed sometimes, even though a greater understanding is usually the satisfying outcome.

But…if we don’t ask questions, if we don’t seek to understand the rationale, no matter how far-fetched, behind actions, and if we don’t walk in others’ shoes and try to look at things from their perspectives, how would we ever understand them and they us? 

People are also, in general, quite happy to stay where they are once they’ve found their ‘spot’. They stay, either from a reluctance to cause disturbance to fellow passengers and incite anger/suspicion/fear by moving around on the bus, or quite simply, from a lack of concern that they may be missing out on something that lies beyond the edge of their limited range of vision. Human sight is imperfect, and vision is further impeded by choosing to stay in one spot when the choice to do otherwise is available. All hail the power of the Comfort Zone!

Maybe they’ve never even given much thought to things beyond their current knowledge…never thought that there’s more to know, or that there’s perhaps much to be gleaned even from knowing that there’s nothing more out there. Perhaps they’ve wondered about other possibilities…other perspectives, but just never saw the point in budging from their spot. So many reasons on why we choose the things, the paths we do, all fueled by different motivations, but ultimately…the general consensus seems to be

Straying is bad and staying is good.

If only promises and marriage vows are taken so seriously…

She felt a little forlorn, knowing that this means of getting somewhere (or in her case, should it be getting nowhere?) was not for her. She didn’t know how she came to that conclusion, but she did. She didn’t fit in. Never had, and probably never will. And she didn’t want to conform, didn’t want to compromise. Not if it meant denial and rejection of the spontaneous and curious child inside her.

Why can’t I be happy with transportation on wheels, or even with wings? My peers seem to do okay by them.

It probably had to do with the fact that those means on wheels came with steel cages, and she simply couldn’t bear the thought of missing out on the bigger pieces of life that she couldn’t actually see but could still somehow sense. She would have to make do with her own two feet. They might be slower, tire more easily, and she would still miss out on some things, but she could appreciate so much more, all at her own pace.

The girl stepped off the bus and never looked back. She stumbled and fell many times throughout her journey, receiving numerous bruises, cuts, and even some persistent infections along the way. Scars were inevitable. There were also many tears, some shared with others but mostly shed alone. She encountered pain, experienced fear, and came close to losing faith in herself and all that she believed in.

However, she never forgot to laugh, and she continued to love the child inside her, the people around her, and most of all, she continued to love life.