Sunday, April 22, 2012

BUS STORY # 285 (Portrait # 17: Poster Child)

He hit me. Again. by busboy4
HE HIT ME. AGAIN., a photo by busboy4 on Flickr.

The bus is crowded. People are standing in the aisle even up here on the back platform.

Through all the shuffling of standing riders, I pick up on the quick, small, involuntary jerking movements of the young woman sitting across from me and one seat over.

She’s a small, delicate blonde girl, late teens or early 20s. Even though it’s already dark outside, she’s got on sunglasses. But I now see her mouth is twitching, and she can’t seem to get comfortable. She is, I realize, terribly agitated and trying very hard not to cry.

Then I see the bruises. One on her right cheek, one near the right corner of her mouth. They are small bruises. New bruises. “Knuckle-size,” I find myself thinking. Later, when she turns her head toward the back of the bus, I catch sight of a third small bruise on her left jaw.

She has earphones connected to her cell. She periodically looks at the cell, and then texts furiously. Later, I pick up on the fact that the cell lights up when she gets a text. That’s when she looks, then replies.

The process aggravates the twitching.

Once, when the cell lights up, she looks at it and just shakes her head, ever so slightly, no.

Up by Manzano High School, we pass an electronic billboard. Among the repeating images for local television and businesses is the full-face view of a battered young woman not much older than my young co-rider. To the left of her face, the caption reads: “HE HIT ME.” To the right: “AGAIN.” Beneath her face, the billboard urges us to “stop the cycle of abuse” and gives us a number to call.

But she doesn’t see the billboard. She’s looking at her cell phone again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a sad story, but beautifully told.
Your descriptions of her activity makes me almost feel as if I can read her mind.

11:05 AM  

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