Late Night Bus Loops

*Trigger Warning Abuse*

We met in the dimmest corner of the bar. Perusing through a bunch of photos he took at a marijuana-fueled party in a house that looked as though a dump truck had abandoned its contents there. He makes eye contact with me; “Come look at this” he motions towards the sopping wet table packed with beers, cigarette butts, stray train tickets, and handbags.

The photographs range from blonde girls doing the peace sign with their tongues out, to a disheveled middle-aged man with a lurid smile pulling a bong in the garage. Within a moment our conversation turns from establishing the scene of the infamous house party to disagreeing on what entitles someone to be ‘the one.’

He says it’s unadulterated and confusing love. I quote a Human League lyric and hope he doesn’t notice. This is the language I generally speak in social situations that feel inorganic to me. Soon enough, after wolfing down three more beers I beg him to pay for my cab because my level of inebriation allows me to feel at liberty to do so. We establish that we’re both too drunk to recite lines from ‘The Goonies’ but he assures me it’s his favourite film. I nod, “it’s pretty great, huh?”


Rather than forking out the cash for a cab I find myself on the 417 bus home with the strange gentleman. I notice his badly drawn tattoos and embarrassing patches of body hair. Whenever I see a man with misplaced body hair I am reminded of the discomfort involved with assuring my male relatives that the bald patch is hardly noticeable. It reminds me of men, real men. Black coffee and Lateline type men. Men who bathed me when I was younger and who deposit money into my bank account in order to sustain my university education. Those kinds of men and their assuredness horrify me. I can’t think of those men whilst fucking the photographer.

Outside the window of the bus there are zero cars and the XXXX lights flicker as we pass the brewery. I am reminded of the fact that the amount of alcohol I consumed is unsafe. In my head I’m formulating what to say once I disembark the bus, calculating and reassuring myself that I’m an independent, confident and sexually liberated young person. This justification is one that I’ve meddled with consistently in situations that I am certain my parents would disapprove of. Heck, even I disapprove of at least 80% of the behaviour that defines my ‘sexuality.’

I say, “I guess this is the point where we should make out?”, so we do and it feels wrong like most things that occur on public transport after three-am. Beyond this bus is the darkness of my bedroom and the stale smell of shoes piled in the corner counteracted by a haze of toilet freshener and perfume. A rush of light from a passing car highlights the patchy, authoritative hairs on the photographer; I hear a brief rustling and ignore it. I think he took off his belt.


Whilst he takes me from behind I try and distract myself by thinking about Corey Feldman and his breakthrough role as ‘Mouth’ in ‘The Goonies’. Firmness around my neck, the darkness extends beyond the immediacy of my room as it’s pouring from my head down to my jelly legs, numb toes, and dumb watery-eyes. I don’t question anything. I reconcile my gasps for breath with the notion that this will all end soon. Then the connotations of the word ‘end’ are palpable and sickening. I’m blacking out now and all I can hear is, “Sloth loves Chunk.”

– By Grace Dawe