EXT/INT. LOCAL BUS – NIGHT
It’s late. The bus is half – empty when she boards. She makes no effort to swap glances with weary passengers. She isn’t in the business of making friends.
She spots a vacancy behind the rear doors. She sits. She loses herself in the noise booming through her ears.
GERALD (45) sees her from across the aisle. He speaks:
You comin’ from work?
ALLIE (24) doesn’t hear him at first, completely lost in her own world, but his demanding gaze creates a beckoning. She unplugs one of her earphones.
You comin’ from work?
You comin’ from school?
He’s persistent. She’s indifferent, though her resistance is slowly waning.
How old are you?
She doesn’t answer.
You look younger than me. I’m forty-two.
Allie peers out the window.
He doesn’t get the hint. He hops across the aisle. He’s now sitting beside her.
Allie shoots him a glare, “What do you want?”
Gerald reclines into his seat.
Human interaction – I hear it’s priceless.
I don’t believe that.
Then you’re in denial.
She clutches her backpack tighter.
No offense, but I don’t really feel like spewing my guts to some rando.
She leans further into the glass window. She yearns for home.
I went to the University of Baltimore. Football — soccer scholarship.
Allie looks at him, like really looks at him as if it’s the first time she’s seeing him.
What the hell is your problem?
I don’t think this route’s long enough for us to find out.
So you’re a washed up sports junkie who wants some pity, is that it?
No, no, I had a decent career but you know how it goes…the pros aren’t for everyone. I don’t think I was ever good enough anyway. Where did you go to school?
A moment passes between them. She shrugs, “ignorance is no longer bliss”.
He raises an eyebrow.
Cornwall…that’s impressive. I have a cousin who went there on a, um, basketball scholarship.
She was great. She won MVP in her freshman and sophomore years, stellar GPA. She was amazing and she was loved for it.
Allie’s eyes turn suddenly hollow.
Love is fickle. It comes in seasons. It blossoms then it changes, grows cold, before it leaves you.
He exhales the weight of her words.
I know what you mean. You don’t qualify means you don’t place, means you don’t medal. Then your jersey makes peace with top shelf lint, worn out with time because failure no longer fits.
Failure can be temporary.
Not in the major leagues.
I’m in insurance now. General, commercial, you name it. It gets hard sometimes but I do love it.
I hear it’s a shitty business.
Nah, I’m a sales guy. You know…that’s what I do…that’s…what I’m good at.
Is it? Or did you just give up on everything else?
I never gave up. They didn’t want me anymore.
The bus screeches to a halt.
You don’t seem like the type of guy to take no for an answer.
She brushes past Gerald’s buckled knees. She slithers through the rear doors.
The bus driver glares at Gerald through her rear view mirror.
Gerald exits through the rear doors.
EXT. STREET – LATE NIGHT
In the distance, he sees Allie standing underneath a bus shelter.
He brands a parting smile, nods a silent goodbye.
He begins to kick an empty soda can down a trodden path.
Allie closes her eyes. The crowd roars in her mind.