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Time between us

The bus is late. It’s always late at this hour, when people are home and the sun is about to set. Today the sun is already lost in the dark clouds that threaten the peace of the small mountain town.  The clouds pile up to see who still dares to roam the streets. They are not too many, indeed, but still enough …

The first drops of rain hit the hot black asphalt. The bus is coming so no one remembers the umbrellas left behind. The travellers go up and choose a place: a cold yellow cold chair or next to the iron rod, their eyes fixed on the apocalyptic view outside. They wonder if the storm will catch them among the unleashed acacias. The bus looks empty. Too quiet, too much air entering the windows opened there and there, and some white, May, tree fluff that brings parts of a different story.

In another corner of the world, another bus door opens. Other travelers go down. One of them brings his camera and habitually checks its settings. There, the storm has not arrived yet, morning has just come.  The streets, however, are still almost empty. One traveler follows the other silently, while the bus from the first world follows its quiet way. Some children play on the wayside, on a small alley between two white houses. The young man stops opposite them and shoots their innocence and joy with the camera. A bus stops at the station, right next to the young man. He looks at the bus travelers. From the bus door, a beautiful girl is smiling to the boy. Yes, that was his first thought: that she was beautiful. He doesn’t have time to figure out if she is beautiful for him or for someone else. When the doors close and the bus starts, the young man thinks he was wrong. The girl had something, indeed, but not enough. She was too different, too different from those who he knew, from the people he belongs to.

The first lightning strike brightes the bus of the tired travelers. The young girl next to the metal bar watches the sky and then moves away to a chair near the door. She is resiged with that patch of glass. She is tired, coming from the office, dragging her thoughts and dreams among the streets and heavy bodies. The bus stops at a traffic light. She looks through the window at the other drivers. From her perch she can read grimaces, gestures, minds and souls. A young, pensive man from one car attracts her attention. She observes his features more closely. She does not know why, but for a moment she wonders what would happen if there is a special bond between people telling you that someone else is looking at you or waiting for you.  Like a miracle, the young man from the car turns around and looks at her. This time, it seems that he is the one who scans her mind and life. The traffic light changes from red into green and he starts in a water-spout, forgetting in an instant the girl from the yellow bus. Only then, the young girl wipes out the steamed glass. He was only almost an illusion …she was wrong.

That camera photo needed to be changed immediately, was the first thought of the young man from the other world.  It was a regular morning, a little bit too plain and cold, but he knew it would pass. He looked at his watch. Almost 10:00. He brought his hands to the eyes and tried to chase away fatigue and numbness.  He continued down the sloping street and found other shots to take.   At some point, from the window of a blue little house, an old man waved him.  Something about the old man, his cheerfulness, brightened his mood in a way he hadn’t thought possible.   He waved back, just the same way, and took a photo. The old man’s lips moved, saying something.   The young man on the street couldn’t hear, so he walked towards the house.  Just as he came within earshot, the old man vanished behind a yellow curtain, which fluttered in a strange May breeze.

The flood had unleashed. Their only salvation was the bus. Several stations had gone by and no one had gotten on or off. Maybe everyone had forgotten where the bus was going.  Maybe they were thinking that the bus would save them from the storm.  They had been rowed across half the city. The young girl next to the window still tried to look outside. She wiped out the steamed glass with her purle sleeve. Among  broken branches and drops of water, she saw her face.She couldn’t stand the truth so soon she looked down, praying for the rain to stop and for God to set them free again.

Something draws her attention. On her left, an old man was preparing to leave the bus. He was all wet,  She didn’remember when he’d gotten on the bus. He looked to her, smiled, and stepped down to the second step, waiting for the bus to reach the station.

She took a closer look at that wrinkled face, the large, grey eyes, once blue. Looking at the old man gave her a strange tranquility, as if his beautiful face were trying to tell her something. She wanted to ask him someting, to tell him a questions he couldn’t put to words. She didn’t dare try.

The doors opened.  The old man stepped half-way off the bus, turned, and told her gently:

–         These are only misleading fragments. The time has not arrived …yet!

And the storm stopped.


Marina Rasnoveanu lives in Romania and works as an editor for a well known Romanian web-site (  She blogs at,  posts on, and  


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