Short Story – The Unexpected

It was late evening, when I was rushing from my hotel to the Bus stand, for returning home. It was a 5 day business trip and I was totally exhausted. I reached the bus stand on time but the bus was an hour late. I passed my time by munching some snacks, sipping some coffee, and loitering around. I had some unusual conversations about politics (The hot topic) with total strangers at the Café. The bus arrived by 10 in the night. I needed some sleep as the next day I was expected to reach in the second half of the day, I had some good pending work and I would get no time to rest. I boarded the bus, and got the window semi-sleeper seat and had the next seat empty. I quickly dozed off, and the next moment at around 12 am I woke up by some elbow shoved on my arm. I woke up, brushed my eyes with my fingers and looked at that dark face. The lights were off and I couldn’t see much of that man’s face. He apologised in a husky voice for the accidental push and I just said it’s alright in a bugged manner and slept off. After some short while I was again pulled from my sleep by some tapping on my arm. I looked at him and I could see his face, he had this square jaw with dimpled chin, full lips, big brown eyes, thick eyebrows, and straight nose. He was standing and looking at me as if he was studying me. I quickly came to my senses and realised my hair would be a mess. I pulled my hair in a ponytail and raised an eyebrow questioning the reason for waking me up?
He understood and said “The bus has halted for some early morning breakfast and..”
I understood what he meant and I realised I need to pee. I thanked him and got down the bus behind him. I went to the washroom and came back to see him sipping coffee. I never liked travelling alone and I didn’t mind talking to my co-seater. I took some coffee, and grabbed a pack of potato chips. I stood beside him and smiled. He smiled back but didn’t say a word. It was 4.30 am and it was pretty dark out there, I finished my coffee and was about to get on the bus when he said from behind “Seems you get good sleep in bus”
and I was a bit embarrassed.
I turned and nodded, he smiled and continued “I can’t sleep in those seats”
I smiled and replied, “I know but I have had travelled a lot to get used to those seats.”
And without waiting for him to reply I got into the bus and sat on my seat. Soon he joined me and offered some cookies. I took one and offered him chips. He took few and we started feeding ourselves silently. I initiated the conversation saying “So you going back home or for some work?”
“Home, I was here for some work, you? ”
“Same here”
“What do you do?”
“I am a Sales Manager, and was here for some quotation work”
“Same here. Wow, so much common between us” and he now was smiling.
I now turned to rest my back on the glass window, and pulled my left leg on seat and was now facing him, watching intently. I now wondered if he is of some rival firm? I asked, “What sort of products do you deal with?”
“Furnishings, you?”
Thank god, he isn’t of my rival and I replied “Plastic, as raw material” and he smiled, as if he too felt some relief. We ate some and talked some more. I didn’t realise when we both dozed off, and when I woke up, he was gone, but there was a newspaper on the neighbouring seat with a name and contact number on it. I was now smiling for unknown reasons. His name is Josh, and I now realised we didn’t introduce ourselves. My stop was arriving, I grabbed my belongings and that newspaper, got down off the bus, took a cab and without a second thought dialed that number. A guy answered the call with the familiar sound, yes it’s him and I was grinning now. And after a second I said “Hey Josh” and he replied “I knew you would call” and then I said “Katherine it is, and see you at Town Café, on fourth block at 5?”
and he agreed. I was smiling all the while in that cab, I didn’t bother about my pending work, but I wanted to see him. I don’t know what’s in the future but I want to be his friend at the least and this journey gave me something unexpected.

Life is full of surprises, live it without expectations and life would give plenty of reasons to smile.

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