The Ride Of My Life

2nd in the 'Story Writing Comp 2000' competition

Swirls of dust billowed out from beneath the battered bodywork. The day I’d been dreading was here. Butterflies were tapping a tango in my tummy as I boarded the vehicle for the biggest adventure of my life so far. My family had been building me up to this moment for months. Was I really ready?

Slowly I lifted my chin from my chest and peered around at my fellow passengers. They all seemed to have the same equipment as I had. Were they feeling as nervous as I was? Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a kindred spirit. I knew this because she was precariously perched on the edge of her seat. She had long, wispy, honey-brown hair, which had been carefully tied back. She was suitable attired, as I was, for what lay ahead. Someone however seemed out of place. I suspected that he was not headed to the same destination as the rest of us. He was unshaven and did not seem to carry any luggage. His faded and wrinkled clothes matched his forlorn and dejected expression.

I had just started to relax when disaster set in. Suddenly, bags and bodies lurched forward as our vehicle made an unexpected stop. Squeals and startled remarks filled the air. The driver seemed as stunned as us. Gradually he disentangled himself from his seat and went to investigate the outside confusion. Those left behind became unsettled and started to squirm uncomfortably in their seats. The driver, being impatient, yelled for help to move a heavy branch off the road.

Ten minutes later we were in motion once more. Now, pressured for time, the driver pressed harder on the accelerator. The images of the passing landscape became a blur. Trees, guide posts and grazing animals whizzed by at a terrifying rate. BANG! Another catastrophe! Passengers helplessly grabbed on to one another as the vehicle swerved and skidded dangerously all over the road. Vomit from behind me came flying like a missile. It narrowly missed me. Unfortunately, the person directly in front of me did not escape.

Our latest misadventure, we discovered had been a ‘blow out’. More precious time was lost repairing it. By this time everyone had become very restless. Some were every so often checking their watches while others paced nervously. The passenger who had thrown up recently looked a guilty shade of green. There were a few, however who didn’t seem to even acknowledge the fact that we were at a standstill in our journey. They were carrying on casual conversations.

Backfiring loudly, like a bomb in WW2 we ventured off again. We had caught up time rapidly now. We all prayed that our destination would come into view soon. Most of us felt uncomfortably crammed in. By now we had gotten tired of the confined environment and the stale smell of sick.

The driver slowed and finally came to a halt. Hesitantly I stood up, adjusted my uniform, picked up my bag and walked off the school bus to begin my adventure at my new school.

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