RTD Adventures: The Perfect-Timing Tennis Shoes

The concrete hurt the bottom of my feet. The soles of my shoes were completely walked away and I didn’t want to put on the pair I got bought yet. Music drowned out the sound of the cars rushing past. Weeds and rocks bridged off one side of the sidewalk while the cars and a bus bridged the other.

I looked inside of my Hobby Lobby bag to make sure I didn’t forget anything I needed. After doing a sort of head count of my supplies for making some dangling earrings, I realised I had forgotten the glue. I was in the direction to Wal-Mart as it was with just Target and the Aurora Mall left in between me and the super store, so it wasn’t an issue.

In frustration that I had to walk all the way up to Wal-Mart, I encountered another frustration.

The bus that rushed past me stopped at the bus stop a few feet away. The bus stayed at the stop instead of taking off. I assumed that the group of people were leaving because of the bus having mechanical issues. I didn’t know the route well enough to know how likely this was to happen. The 153 bus was known for such issues, breaking down from having such a long route. However, this was the 15L. Regardless of the route, it was possible, especially if I didn’t know the route.

A group of people got off the bus. This struck me as odd–that large amount of people was unusual for the stop, location, and part of the route. The group worse bitter faces, which was nothing out of the ordinary. However, their bitter expressions were for a different reason.

A man got off the bus through the back doors and out in the opposite direction. This was something people might not normally care, but I realized people seemed to be trying to avoid the man. He seemed ordinary enough to me–I couldn’t see why they would.

He was an older gentleman of a darker color. This shirt and jeans were clean and appeared to be new. Freckles from age and great exposure to the sun spotted his face. The sun reflected off of his cleanly-shaven head.

He mumbled bitterly and I could feel something wasn’t right, that it was worse than the anger people usually had but still controlled well enough to keep to themselves.

He didn’t.

He mumbled and swore while he walked through the bushes. As his swearing grew worse with his attention to the rocks, I grew more nervous the closer I got to him. I could tell was he was doing, even though I didn’t want to believe it–he was searching for a rock to throw.

I had to go past him. I didn’t want to turn back since I had to get my errand done before the buses would start running only once an hour, but I couldn’t stay either.

I happened to be in the crossfire of his anger and his target.

He picked up a rock and threw it. He didn’t care who could’ve gotten hurt. I ducked, just barely missing the rock itself.

The rock shattered through a window and more people started flooding out of the bus. He yelled racial slurs and threats of murder at the bus, telling someone to come out, but gave no hint as to whom besides the n-word.

“The police are on their way now!” a woman yelled as she hurried out the front doors.

“I’ll fucking kill you too, Bitch!” he yelled back.

Other people hurried out of the way. I started walking in the rocks and weed patches to allow other people to hurry past me. I was lucky to avoid getting hurt and avoid getting anything in my worn-out shoes. I watched the bus driver pull out the phone attached to the bus mechanics to call for 9-1-1 while that same woman boldly threatened him with the police a few more times before she moved on.

I quickened my step, catching up to the group of people that had left the bus. Some were calling the cops while others were calling to tell their friends or family what happened, either to laugh at it or express their fears.

After looking back to make sure that he wasn’t after someone in the group I was near, I stopped and sat on the curb.

I yanked off the shoes I had planned to throw away a couple blocks down the sidewalk when there would be a trash can or dumpster nearby and crammed my new ones on. I didn’t want to worry about stickers or broken beer bottles or any other dangers keeping me from running if I had to. I didn’t need to, but I figured it was better to be prepared to dodge another flying rock than not.

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