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.