She sat quietly looking out the window of the bus. She was careful to keep her face blank of expression and avoided all eye contact with everyone hoping to discourage any form of communication. She was sure that if someone looked too closely, they would be able to see past her carefully placed mask, read her face, and discover what she wished to keep to herself. The roar of the engine and fumes from the traffic mingled to make a nauseating mixture that was an assault to the senses, but she doesn’t notice. The bus continues its journey in this crowded stream of traffic, going from stop to stop, people coming and going in their own travel bubbles barely noticing their surroundings, let alone their fellow travelers.
As the bus continues on its route stopping every few blocks to exchange new riders for old, the front door opens to allow boarding while the back side-door opens for departures. A continuous flow of people of all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life move through the bus at regular intervals. Each stop has its own visual vibe depending on the neighborhood or commercial area the route passes through. She notices none of this, although her eyes are turned toward the window, the changing landscape flows by largely unseen. If her stop has been missed, she shows no sign of recognition nor inclination to vacate her seat.
This bus route was the longest in all the city and if you wished, you could ride as long as you wanted. The route wound its way along the outer streets making a complete circle before starting again. She was on her second circuit now and by all accounts she would remain for a third. People got on and off the bus and if anyone took notice of her at all, they left her alone and she paid no attention to them or the scenery.
The traffic had thinned as the day grew long and the driver has noticed her sitting alone and stationary. She is seated too far back for conversation, so he decided to check on her if she was still there when he took his break. There are only a few more stops before he switches with another driver.
On the very next stop though, she seems to emerge from her trance-like-state and decides to disembark. Very few passengers remain and without a word to anyone, she moves to the exit and steps off the bus, makes a right turn, and disappears into the night alone; her carefully kept secrets intact.