For every day that you and I meet, I hold on to the bus tickets.
At the end of the night, I pull the ticket out from my wallet and unfold it, smoothing the tattered corners, laying it flat before carefully placing it in the corner of my bookshelf, on top of a pile of other tickets. This has become a ritual of remembering: scattered in my closet like confetti, lining the bottom of an empty shoebox, slipped between the pages of a favorite book.
I have kept every scrap of cheap newsprint that chronicles our journey from the beginning, from our first bus ride.
The scenery outside changing from southern lights to the blurry chaos of Lawton. Eyes stare into shining faces, sketching into memory every curve of your features, as though they are maps that would guide us home. Or is it home, when we’re going in separate directions? Your smile is heavy with sadness as I drop your hand to board another bus, from Pasay to Commonwealth Avenue, by myself.
On other days, the clear blue morning sky is blocked by the smog of rush hour. This metal deathtrap weaving through the concrete ribbon of EDSA, winding through traffic as I wait impatiently for the wheels to stop turning and bring me to my destination: you.
This is me, all of me, reaching out to you across this highway. Tracing paths to places yet unknown to me, from Philcoa to Baclaran, on a chilly December night.
It’s time to go home. With my head on your shoulder and my hand in yours, all the beauty of the lights outside is contained in your gaze. We silently pray for traffic, for more time for these quiet conversations punctuated by calm, gentle kisses. Riding these buses should allow me feel closer to you, yet I find no comfort.
Instead, I find I am disquieted with the knowledge that at the end of the day, I will once again be alone, with my hand holding nothing but yet another bus ticket, crumpled and torn. All the miles traversed, a stamp on a passport, a souvenir of the distances I have traveled for you.