I stepped onto the bus, paid my fare, and started to walk to where one of my favorite seats is. However, something caught my eye before I sat down; There was a black backpack, with pink flower patterns covering it. The flowers made the bag’s primary pink rather than black.
I like your bag, I thought to myself, as I looked over to the owner of the bag. She was a young girl. She didn’t look much older than the girls at my high school, so I guessed she must have been a freshman in college. She had her light-sandy hair braided into double pigtails, and her face had an adorable roundness. Her most outstanding feature were her eyes. They were bright, piercing blue. I could’ve spotted them from a mile away in poor lighting.
Within a second, her eyes met mine and my eyes faltered in response. I looked away and sat down with one swift motion.
She did have a nice bag. I like flowers. I think that white might have complemented the pink better, but that’s no big deal.
I turned to look out the window, and I saw her staring forward through the corner of my eye. Her eyes still stood out, like gems shining in a cave that hadn’t seen light in years. I had no intention to date anyone at the time, and no intentions to hit on her, but I really wanted to compliment her.
I often would compliment people within my head. Usually, I would remark to myself I like your dress or your hair is really cute today or that shirt and jacket complement each other really well. Usually, it was just small, superficial things. Especially hair and fashion.
I wanted to compliment her, but I knew in my gut I would do what I always do when I get on the bus. I would wait for my stop and then get off without a word to anyone. It was so incredibly routine. I didn’t want it to be true, but I knew it was.
Her eyes fell to her phone, and I took that as an invitation to move my eyes away as well. I sighed to myself. She really deserves a compliment. You could tell her anything you please, and it’d probably make her day. Say “I like your hairstyle.” Say “I like your hair color.” Say “I like the color of your hair. It’s so natural, I can tell.” Say “I like your bag” for all I care! Just say something!
I was getting frustrated with myself. Look, I know it’s difficult to throw out compliments like that. Just wait until you’re about to stand up to get off of the bus, and tell her then. There’s practically no risk to it. All you have to do is say the words then you can leave. Quick, clean, simple.
I felt my stomach sink.
Looks like my mind has been made up for me. I guess I won’t say anything. Man, her backpack is pretty cool, though. You know, you could just convince yourself to say something. It wouldn’t even be hard. All you have to do is just tell yourself “Yes, I’ll do it.” Oh well, your mind has made itself up.
I felt my gut float up to my chest, and sit next to my heart, lying atop my lungs.
Oh? Does this mean I actually have a choice? Then I’ll take it! That’s right, just before I get off for my stop, I’ll compliment her. It’s not even that bad, it’s not even that hard.
Suddenly, I saw my stop approaching. I had only moments to tell this stranger something, anything!
Come on, you! Just say something!
I reached my hand up.
You have beautiful eyes!
I pulled on the little wire that makes a bell sound, letting the driver know I’m getting off.
That hairstyle is simply wonderful on you!
I pulled my own backpack closer to me.
I like your bag!
I stood up, swinging my backpack over my shoulders, and I got off of the bus. I began my short trek home from the bus station, upset with myself for not following through with something so inconsequential.
I could have made her day. All I needed to do was just turn around, throw a few words out of my mouth, then get off of the bus. Yet, I couldn’t find myself doing it. It was only a small sentence, and I probably wouldn’t have ever seen her again anyway. I hadn’t even had any intentions to flirt or create a friendship.
Yet, there I was. Walking home having taken no action. For some reason, my body decided to take away that last moment hope.
“I like your bag,” I whispered to myself as I stared at the bus driving away.