The same route for
two years now.
The first week I started,
a girl stood and
yelled at me to stop
the bus.
She said C.J.,
who I already found
to be the troublemaker,
was harassing everyone
in the back.
Her face was red and
she yelled
until I hit the brakes
on the first stop.
I went back and yelled at him
to settle down.
The girl was still standing
and still very angry.
After everything was settled,
she looked at me,
then sat down.

For a long time,
the girl sat by Sarah.
Sarah, a 5″ eight grader,
who screamed at anyone
who bugged her.
And because it was so funny
to watch,
people bugged her all the time.
She had short,
orange hair,
and a pudgy face.
If you touched her,
she’d punch at you.
One day,
she came on the bus
with bare feet.
Her shoes were tied
to her backpack.
The girl sat next to Sarah
and let her talk.
Coming home from school one day,
a ninth grader said
something mean to Sarah.
Sarah turned around and punched
that ninth grader.
She kept punching.
The girl,
who was not sitting
next to Sarah that day,
ran down the isle to Sarah’s seat.
She grabbed Sarah’s arms
and held her down
and told her not to listen
to that stupid ninth grader.
She held her arms
until Sarah finally released
her fists
The girl took the seat
beside her
and when Sarah got off,
she came with.

I saw who
that girl hung out with.
She switched from her friends
in the back of the bus,
with band shirts and
screaming headphones,
to the loud girl with basketball shorts.
They sat together
and told funny stories until
they couldn’t breathe.
She sat with the tall boy,
who I know from
my old neighborhood,
and answered his questions
about kissing.
She sat with her brother,
who didn’t say much,
until they got off the bus.
Her stop was the last,
and after,
I went off
to my next route.

She was always late to the bus
after school.
I watched her talk to that boy
until the last person in line
got on the bus.
After giving him a long hug,
she’d run.
She said sorry
over and over to me,
because she knew
I was watching.
I watched them hug
every day.
I watched the boy push her
to the bus.
I was there the day
he slipped in mud and
she went back
to help him up.
She said sorry that day too.

The last day of her ninth grade,
I saw her hug that boy
in the rain
under a tree.
She wore striped pajama pants.
She didn’t say sorry
when she looked at me
that day.
She sat in
the middle of the bus
and looked out the window.
When I announced I brought
she came up and ate
with the students
that actually showed up.
She said thank you,
then looked back out
the window.

She’s a sophomore now.
When she got on the bus
the first time,
she said, “Hello!” to me.
She no longer walks with
her brother
like she used to.
She no longer yells at C.J.
or talks to Sarah,
because they aren’t there.
She is no longer late
to the bus,
because there is no longer
a boy.
But she still comes on the bus
every day
and yells, “Good Morning!”
when everyone else is dead.
She still sings loud
and obnoxiously
to the songs on the radio.
She still wears skinny jeans,
and lipstick.
And she is still
the only girl
with wet hair in the morning.


  1. fabulous.

  2. Anonymous

    Anne, i just wanted to tell you that I LOVE YOU TO DEATH! You are my pride and joy. You are the only one I LIKE and will always like. Hope to see you soon.

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