Getting There is Half the Fun
All Bryan wanted to do was get home for a week or two and relax with his family. However, Fate seemed to be conspiring against him at every turn.
First he found out that his father had dislocated his shoulder and wouldn't be able to drive down and pick him up. Then the only bus he could take would leave at four minutes after four in the morning.
His boss called him frantically the evening before he left (which he had booked off so he could pack his things) because work needed someone to close up for the night. So now it was three thirty and Bryan was standing in the dark outside the locked bus station, trying not to fall asleep standing up, as he had only had two hours of sleep.
The night was not particularly cold, but every so often, a big gust of wind raced right through Bryan's bones. He rearranged the bag at his feet and looked longingly around again for something to sit on. There were no benches or even an alcove to stand in, out of the wind. There was nothing even to denote the bus station besides a tiny, locked-up ticket stand and a sign with a picture of a bus on it. Resigning himself, Bryan sat down on the curb to wait. He was tired and the cold wind was making his bones ache.
He wished the bus would hurry up. Being outside alone on a windy night in April was not the perfect thing for a person. With his bottom quickly becoming colder than necessary, Bryan found that he was utterly miserable. The first few splatters of rain that hit his glasses almost made him tear up. The one thing he forgot to check was the weather. Of course, it had to rain.
In true, cheesy Hollywood fashion, the moment he thought this, a peal of thunder sounded somewhere behind him. Bryan groaned as he pulled himself up off the icy curb.
Standing close to the building kept some of the rain off, but Bryan was still soaked in minutes.
"Hey, are you cold?"
Bryan looked around and saw the source of the voice (not his imagination). A tall blond guy was standing underneath a big colourful umbrella. "Um... yeah, kinda."
Sure, this guy was a stranger, but he seemed to be Bryan's age and he had an umbrella and what was that? A mug of steaming coffee. Bryan could smell it from where he was standing. His mouth began to water involuntarily and his entire body screamed for the caffeine.
"Here, we can share my umbrella." The guy moved closer to Bryan so they could both stand under the coloured canopy. "I'm Dutch. You can call me Dutchy. You know, like the doughnut? But I'm sweeter..."
Bryan bit his tongue to keep from laughing.
"Yeah, that was pretty lame, wasn't it?"
Bryan smiled. "A little. I'm Bryan."
Bryan was wiping his glasses on his wet sweater and they were not drying off. Dutchy gently took them out of his hands and passed Bryan the umbrella. Bryan squinted and watched Dutchy dry them off on his own shirt. "Well hi. What has you at the bus station so early?" Dutchy asked him as he handed the glasses back.
"Catching the 196R home for spring break. You?"
"Same. Hey, you go to the university?" Bryan nodded. "Me too. I'm a first year, veterinary medicine."
Bryan smiled. "Cool. Second year, European history." A particularly loud burst of thunder cut off Dutchy's response.
A little light, glinting off the rain, showed them both the end was in sight; the bus was pulling up.
The bus was, thankfully, warm and quiet because there were only a few other people on it. Bryan and Dutchy sat together near the back.
"Here, you look soaked." Dutchy handed Bryan a dry sweatshirt. It was The Beatles, Bryan's favourite band. As they shared a bag of gummy worms, they talked about music and books and movies and everything in between.
Bryan was amazed that the five hours bus ride went so quickly. And he was even more amazed that he got off the bus with a phone number and a goodbye kiss.