Our bus slipped through the intersection and we entered the park. We had already driven through the heart of the city (all busy and noisy and exhilarating), past the tall long pyramid (a strange sight in the middle of so many rectangles), past the main plaza (where I envied all the women with their shopping bags in hand), past the cable cars (which were as cute as I had pictured), past the many homeless people (horrid and pitiful at once), past the adult video shops (which did made me curious even though I tried not to look), past the little parks (with their mix of vagrants and executives and bike messengers), past the big houses in the marina (which made me wonder if I would ever have one of those and, from there, it was only a little jump to wondering who would live there with me), and now I was feeling tired, in more ways than one. There’s only so many thing I could see in one day and I would rather see them at my own pace. The voice through the loudspeaker was getting annoying and I felt like going to the bathroom. I was a bit too hot and the sun was a bit too bright. Just now I would have wanted to leave the bus, to leave it all by myself, and leave my sister and her boyfriend all to themselves as well. After all, they should have come by themselves in the first place, there never was a need for me to be here, they could then kiss all they want to and not try to hide little pecks while I’m looking over the metals bars of the bus, like they just did, right then, just as I was thinking of it. I could have been at home, maybe going out, maybe staying around the house for days on end, I really just wanted to rest, but she insisted, my sister, like she always did, like she did back when we were little and I didn’t want to go to summer camp and then she cried and cried and cried, and she said “We have to go! We HAVE to go!” and she wouldn’t stop until finally my parents decided that we did indeed have to go, and it was up to me to be with her because she couldn’t be alone, and so it was again, this was like summer camp and once again she had the boyfriend, all muscles and strong arms and little smiles and bright blonde hair, and I was looking out the side of a bus, mostly just so I wouldn’t look at them, and I didn’t even know or care anymore what I was looking at, more men on bikes, more people walking hand in hand, more cars driving around the bus, looking at us as if we were the strange sight ourselves, as if we were the curious attraction. Right then I really did just want to walk out of the bus, and maybe I could just stand up, and make my way to the front, and at the next stop sign, I could jump over the side and then I would be free, and I could say to my sister (or at least think it really loud), “go ahead, kiss each other all you want, you don’t need me, you never did, you could have done fine in summer camp without me, you could be having a great vacation here without me!” I wouldn’t have to be hearing the droning voice over the loudspeaker or feeling strange every time her boyfriend and me stayed together, and he smiled at me and somehow I knew that he knew, he knew that I liked him, I liked him so much that it hurt to look at him too long, and maybe he liked me too, but I would never know and I could never even try to find out. I would rather look somewhere else, like right now they could be whispering, but there was no need to whisper. I could simply be gone, running up that green hill that was just coming over the corner, right past the girl in loose red shorts jogging down the street, right past the man pushing the big shopping cart full of garbage bags and cans, I could be sitting in the shade and forgetting all about my sister or her boyfriend or about that voice through the loudspeakers that just wouldn’t stop and what was the point of it anyway, since I couldn’t quite hear what it was saying, not with the loud motor of the bus, and the cars honking… and here came another turn, and there were another two girls running, both bobbing their heads up and down to the silent music being pumped into their ears. Maybe if it was only my sister and me, maybe then we could talk and point at things, maybe we could say what we liked and what we didn’t, maybe we could shop together and try on things, maybe we could even talk about things we had never talked about before. But how could I do that when the boyfriend was there, right up in my face, too close to forget about him, too far away to reach out and hold his strong solid hands. Now here came the museum, and then the bus was about to stop. I wished right then that I could just slide away, maybe they wouldn’t even notice I was gone, maybe they would just look up at the sky and wonder if something had just happened and maybe it was just some little bird that flew past them and maybe they wouldn’t even say anything at all, completely forgetting that I had ever been there, and they would walk into the museum without me and then they could kiss all they wanted and I would simply disappear and never show up again. (I wondered where would I go? I wondered if things would work out better somewhere out there and then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have to worry about so many things anymore.)
Instead I walked down with them, and I smiled when I was supposed to smile, and I paid for my ticket and I walked into the imposing new museum in the middle of the park. I saw the bus parked by the sidewalk, all empty and alone and I thought then that I was very much like the bus that carried me here, a receptacle for other people’s holidays and then a thing to be left alone and forgotten when something more interesting came along. But then it was cool inside, and there was air conditioning, and maybe now everything would be alright, if they could only stop whispering, and if it wasn’t so crowded, and if there wasn’t so much noise, maybe I could just run out, when nobody was looking, when everybody was distracted, maybe if I ran out and truly disappeared, then I would finally be free, as free as I had never been before. I walked next to them into the first exhibit hall, where the echoes of so many conversations surrounded me like invisible insects, intent on not letting me think or decide. Soon my time would come. Soon I would finally change everything. Soon. Very soon.