LET ME OFF THE BUS
A little fictional story based on the song,
(Tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree, 1972.)
I turned and ran after the old VW bus when I saw its brake lights come on and pull off the road. “Finally, a ride”, I moaned. Wayne, the driver wasn’t overly friendly as I popped open the side, sliding door to get in but he was friendly enough and I got a safe vibe from him and the guy in the passenger seat; however, Hector, a young Latino guy in the middle seat almost knocked me down scrambling past me from the middle seat to the back clutching a bunch of letters and a cheap-looking, mid-sized bag that suggested it might contain everything he owned in the world. I grabbed onto the seat handle and climbed into the welcoming seat. It felt so good, offering a comfortable feeling place to take a load off and a free ride.
Wayne ask me where I was headed and I just shrugged and said. “Wherever the wind takes me, just sightseeing, you know.” He said, “Right on” and that he and Rob, nodding at the front seat passenger, were fed up with San Diego and were headed for Tucson to visit a good friend, hoping to have a good time this weekend.” Wayne’s voice dropped as he nodded toward Hector and said, don’t know about him, he just keeps going through those letters, says he’s headed to Tucson too.
Wayne, passing around a joint, was obviously in a very good mood and picked up three more hitchhikers. Everybody was full of the spirit and sharing stories and plans except Hector, who either stared out the window with a worried brow or intensely studied his letters. One of the new riders pointed out to us guys in the front that Hector’s clothes were prison issue for when you first get released; we all nodded our agreement but there was no judgment on any of our faces.
A few miles before we got to Tucson, Hector called out to Wayne to let him out at the next exit, but Wayne said it’s cool man I’ll take you into town, right up to your house, just tell me where to turn everyone cheered, “That’s cool Wayne.” Hector agreed with much gratitude but still with a worried brow.
As we turned down the street indicated by Hector, Wayne had to be very careful of all the cars parked on both sides of the street and Hector instantly became animated, electric, clutching his letters and his bag and began struggling to get out of the back corner seat, his head was bobbing up and down, straining his neck to see what was going on, saying to the guys blocking his way, “excuse me, excuse please, I need out, excuse me please”, stepping on their toes and pushing not taking his eyes off the beautiful young woman standing beside the street in front of Hector’s house with a bright yellow ribbon wrapped around and around her and a big yellow bow on her left shoulder.
There were yellow ribbons everywhere: on the car aerials, on the little fence in front of the house, on the gate, and on the house too. hector was almost whining, pleading, stepping on the guy’s feet, scrubbing, and hitting me in the back of the head with his bag desperate to get out of the bus. As I got the sliding, side door open and Wayne came to a full stop, Hector fell out the door, scrambled to his feet still clutching the letters, and lunged toward the woman and her arms and kisses.
All of us on the bus sat frozen in awe watching Hector practically devour his sweetheart and an amazing number of party-clad people pouring out of the house. We had a big party that night!