bus stop salvation

the wind cut through the bus stop sharply. save

for one or two cars zipping along the road, there

was no one around. Diego felt his lungs burn as

he ran towards the solitary structure, his feet

feeling like small anchors within his boots. the

sweat ran cold in the November breeze that began

to pick up. all of the Heineken he had consumed

no more than an hour ago churned in his blood.

as he staggered to fall up against the wall of

the bus stop, Diego frantically scanned the area.

it was then that he felt the wind lick at the

open wounds on his knuckles and face. “Dios mio,”

he uttered as he quickly used his hooded sweatshirt

to wipe away the blood and sweat as best he could.

“I hope the bus is coming…c’mon, c’mon.” He

took a look at his watch. 9:21 P.M. the N42 usually

stopped here. Diego normally caught it after work

over in Garden City. but tonight was different.

he felt anxiety as he bounced up and down on his

toes. hearing the soft squelch his Timberlands

made in the grass.

his ribs ached from the series of punches that

he took earlier outside of the bar. Diego had just

left the bar he usually went to after work ended.

all of a sudden, he felt someone quickly run up

behind him and shove him from behind. then someone

else connected with a punch across his jaw. despite

the stars, Diego could see it was two white guys

who attacked him. they couldn’t have been more than

19. he felt the fear rise in him; Mexicans were a

target in some parts of Long Island. but he wasn’t

going to die helpless. not here. not when he survived

the alleys of Juarez and fought to get here to the

States. they both had stepped in front of him and

sneered. ‘lousy wetback!!’ one yelled, his gold chain

swinging wildly out of his shirt as he swung at Diego.

the other one laughed at him, and decided to grab his

sweater. Diego reared back and landed a wild right to

the kid’s temple, making him woozy. the one with the

gold chain stepped in and made Diego slip. as he fell

to his knees, he felt a fist brush his forehead. he

grabbed wildly and got a hold of the guy. ‘hey get offa

me! Rick!” the guy yelled as Diego held onto his jacket

with one hand. the other had found a rock in the parking

lot. as they struggled, Diego saw Rick come towards him.

he let the guy with the gold chain have it with the

rock, right on the bridge of his nose. ‘FUUUUUUUCCCK!!!’

he yelled, blood trailing from his nostrils.

“Tory!!”Rick yelled. “You fucker!!” Diego had Rick by a few

pounds even though Rick was taller, and he rushed him.

both went down to the gravel. Rick punched him trying to

get up, but Diego landed a quick left again and Rick

fell back. Diego got up, and began to run. He heard

Tory’s yells in the distance. He ran past his normal

stop, south towards the industrial roads and Hempstead

Turnpike. And now he was waiting on the bus to escape.

he thought one of them had a car. if they did, they may

be looking for him. “C’mon, hurry up!” he whispered. he

was lucky the last time, but this time they might just

hurt him bad…or kill him. he thought of his family,

his mother back home in Juarez. He saw a blur off in the

distance. Dread filled him once again. he thought it was

the two white guys. he closed his eyes, and felt the

warmth of headlights wash over him as he stood there.

a loud hiss caught his ears. he blinked once, and saw

that it was the bus. gulping loudly, Diego struggled

to keep calm as he fished for his pass while climbing

onto the bus. as the doors closed behind him, he saw

a car zip by at breakneck speed. “rough night?” the

bus driver asked, his eyes fixated on the road. “yeah..

yeah it was.” Diego replied as he paid his fare. he

slowly walked to the back of the bus, under the eyes

of a few people who sat towards the front. finding a

seat by himself, he collapsed into it and began to

tremble as the bus rolled out towards Hempstead.