Amanda sat with her head pinned next to the windowpane. She counted the drops of water dripping off it, from the cold outside. Lorde was playing full blast on her earphones as the bus pulled into the garage for a bathroom break.
And suddenly it all came rushing back, all those memories … about a boy she met on a bus once.
Her heart began to race as she let her mind wander off, back there. There is so much that can happen in just a moment. Entire lives can change. Your whole world can be turned upside down by a daring stranger who decides to sit with you, she mused. Or at least my world was, when I met Sipho all those many months ago.
It seemed like forever ago now, when Sipho got on the bus, clutching his shiny black laptop bag and a backpack full of avocados. The glint in his eyes and the wicked smile he’d had when he came up to Amanda had certainly aroused her curiosity. His nerve and nonchalant flattery as he struck up a conversation had done more than capture her attention.
It had made her question all that she knew about love at first sight, and perfect strangers.
Some days though, it felt like only yesterday when Sipho had been whispering sweet nothings in her ear as their bus drove from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
He’d started by introducing himself, telling her that he was a Political Science student at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. They had both just returned from the June semester holidays.
Amanda was not exactly an outspoken young lady. She kept to herself most of the time and preferred to steer clear of strangers. But Sipho was just the perfect stranger. His bubbly, open nature had rubbed off on her. And in no time, she was chattering the story of her life, blushing at his sneaky calculated jokes, and warming up to his charm. So she had told him that she was also a first year student, but at the University of the Western Cape, and so was travelling to Cape Town.
The memory of him was still fresh in her mind, as if it had been only yesterday. Some days she wished she had not talked to him, though. Especially when she felt cheated that they’d only had those few hours together, never to see each other again.
In her prayers she had asked God many times if making them meet for such a brief moment was a good joke; something for him and his angels to laugh about.
She thought of Sipho again now as her bus glided out of the petrol station and back on to the road, lit up ahead in the headlights. The dark night surrounded them like a heavy curtain.
It had been almost a year since their encounter, yet his kisses still lingered in her memory, fresh and warm. Amanda knew now that she would never see Sipho ever again. Even when she thought of him fondly, on nights like this one, she always reminded herself that such silly fairytales do not exist in real life.
He has even moved on with his life and forgotten that I exist, she thought. A teardrop escaped her eyes and slid down her cheeks.
“Are you crying?” asked a calm voice next to her. She turned her gaze away from the window and looked at the kind, smiling face next to her. It was her best friend, Aelin, looking at her, concerned. Aelin extended her hand towards Amanda’s face to wipe away her tear. Amanda giggled and shrugged.
“Of course not,” she said, her voice shaking.
“Well,” continued Aelin, “your tears say exactly the opposite.”
“Don’t be silly,” Amanda countered. “There is just something in my eye.” She faked a weak smile so Aelin would drop the subject. But she knew that her friend was too good at reading her. She was the only person who knew Amanda so well, besides her own mother.
The two had met at orientation, in their first year. They were both freshers, gathered into the Meditas Auditorium building for their faculty welcoming ceremony, along with the multitudes of other first-year Medicine students. Amanda was standing at the edge of the crowd, sheepishly holding her orientation diary and campus map, looking lost and confused. The cheery girl had come up to her, beaming, and invited Amanda to join her group of friends at the other end of the room. Since then Aelin and Amanda had been inseparable.
They studied together, went for classes together and even ate lunch together every Wednesday and Friday. Aelin knew her better than she knew herself. But it was true she had not shut up after the June holidays about the suaveness and chutzpah of the handsome guy she had met on the bus.
Aelin was forced to listen to Amanda babble on and on about Sipho for almost two months. Until Amanda eventually gave up hope that he would call. She had told Aelin that she slipped her number into his back pocket as she hugged him one last time, just before he got off in Bloemfontein. Got off and disappeared into the night … as enigmatic as when he had appeared. He left Amanda’s heart dancing in her chest.
“You are not crying about that boy, are you?” Aelin asked in her cool, refreshing voice. Her voice brought Amanda back to reality; uprooted her from her distant thoughts.
“Duh,” Amanda lied. “It’s been almost a year already. Why would I be thinking about him?”
“I know you better than you think, chom,” Aelin said, giggling, and forcing Amanda to smile and giggle along too.
“Do you think I will ever see him again?” Amanda asked, staring out of the window, and off into the distance.
“Do you love him?”
“I don’t know.”
“I read something in some book,” Aelin began. “They were saying that if you really want something, the whole universe conspires in your favour to help you achieve it”.
Amanda looked at her and laughed. “You believe in magic now?”
“No,” said Aelin, defending herself. “It’s called visualizing the things you want – you should try it!”
“Whatever, Aelly,” Amanda shrugged it off. “Why don’t you visualize the winning lotto numbers?” They both broke out in laughter.
“It doesn’t work like that, hawu!” Aelin responded, gently nudging her in the ribs with her elbow.
“Yeah right,” Amanda giggled. “Of course you’d say that.” As she gently lowered her seat back and closed her eyes, she summoned up a picture of Sipho in her mind. Maybe if she visualized his attractive face enough, the universe would deliver?
Just the thought made her smile as she dozed off to the sound of the bus rumbling down the tarmac.
Tell us: Do you think there’s any truth to Aelin’s idea about the power of visualizing something you want in life?