A man was sitting on a wet, cold bench waiting for the bus to come. He was protected from the rain by the ceiling of the little bus stop. He was reading an old newspaper he had shoved into his bag a few days earlier.
He was reading through the sports section, even though he knew what was going on with the NY Giants; it was the only section he cared for. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see something small and pink sit down next to him. He didn’t notice anything else because he was repeating in his mind, Bus number 63, bus number 63, 63 63 63. He only looked over when he felt the heat of a stare settle on him.
There was a girl sitting next to him, young, maybe six or seven. She had brown hair put into two waterlogged pigtails clinging to her sides of her pale cheeks. She was wearing a pink raincoat, green striped leggings, and a pair of purple rain boots with flowers on them. She also had some yellow hair clips hanging loosely in her hair to keep away the strands of hair that didn’t fit into her pigtails. It didn’t help.
The man had expected that she would look away as soon as they made eye contact but she didn’t. After some staring the girl narrowed her eyes and pouted her lips at him. The man realized she thought that this was a staring contest.
Not having patience for those kinds of games, he went back to reading his paper, thinking about the girl’s clothes, Jeez, either her mother is color blind or she has no fashion sense. He looked back over at the girl subtly and saw her looking forward with a big smile on her face thinking she had won the staring contest. He then looked past her and examined the woman sitting next to her. She looked young yet tired; she had the same colored eyes as the little girl, which were blue, so he assumed that she was the mother. The mother had a plain face and a nose a bit too big for her face. The man then examined the girl’s face. She was definitely prettier, or at least she would be when she grew up. The man then thought, Hm, she must have a handsome husband.
Done with his inventory on the two, he went back to reading his paper. After a few sentences he heard a small voice say, “Why aren’t you wearing a raincoat?” Hoping that the question wasn’t directed at him, he kept on reading. Only when the sentence was repeated twice more, he looked at the girl.
She was looking at him expectedly and said again when the man hadn’t replied, “Why aren’t you wearing a raincoat?”
The man’s eyes furrowed before he spoke. “Because I don’t need one.”
“But it’s raining.”
“Yes, it is, and I have an umbrella.” He went back to reading the paper.
Without missing a beat the girl said, “No, you don’t.”
The man turned his head again and just looked at her at. Instead of staring back this time she was looking around the man. He let out an exasperated sigh and reached in his bag to get his umbrella to show the girl so she would stop talking. After some searching in his bag he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t there. He looked around him and still couldn’t find it. He then saw the girl was looking at him expectedly.
“I must have left it at the office.” He said in a slightly sarcastic voice. He knew he hadn’t; he was dry on the walk over to the bus stop so obviously he had his umbrella.
He once again attempted to read his paper. He thought again, Bus 63, 6—
“You could wear a hat.”
“A hat. It would keep the rain off your face.”
“And what about my clothes?”
The girl thought for a moment, “You could wear a big hat. Like a sombaro.”
The man rolled his eyes, “You mean sombrero? No, that wouldn’t be good for my hair.”
“But the sombaro covers it from the rain.” The girl looked at him like this was obvious.
The man rolled his eyes again, “Yes, but the sombrero would mess up my hair.” He then looked over to the mother hoping to get her to end the conversation. She was listening to music and playing a game on her iPhone. The man shook his head at that. I hate when people get so obsessed with their devices. I mean, yes, I do love my phone and it’s probably the closest thing I have to a real relationship, but at least I’m aware of my surroundings.
He looked out into the rain, which had started to lighten up. It doesn’t look so bad, he thought, If only I weren’t wearing my good suit. But of course, all his suits were good. He checked his bag again for his lost umbrella hoping that it would magically appear so he could get away from the girl.
A few seconds later the girl started humming; it was a simple tune. What annoyed the man was the fact that it sounded familiar but he couldn’t seem to place it. He listened to the girl humming. She kept humming for a while and then the man started to hum too.
They looked very odd. Of course, if you looked at them from far away then it didn’t seem too weird because you couldn’t hear them humming. If you could hear them, then it wouldn’t seem out of line to stare.
While the man was humming and ignoring glances from other people he was racking his brain. It was really bothering him, this tune with no name.
Soon the girl and her mother stood as a bus pulled up. Before the girl could go, the man stopped her and asked what the name of the song was.
“It’s the Teletubbies theme song, y’know: Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po…” she replied in the tune they had been humming for the last five minutes.
The man looked away from the girl. He was confused as to how he had not gotten that sooner; it had been his favorite show as a child.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw the girl hand him something: his umbrella. She had pulled it out from behind her back. The man was about to ask when and how she had taken it but before he could say anything she smiled and said good-bye.
Staring confusedly at the bus as it was driving away, he saw the number: 63.
Sylvia Wakabayashi, Age 14, Grade 9, Saint Anns School, Silver Key