June 14th 2020

Caitlin Judd

An extract from my diary, 14th of June 2020.

I never thought that I would miss the bus ride to college. An hour and a half in the freeing cold or burning heat, with nothing to do but sit and think and look out of the window. I was usually half asleep by the time I actually arrived at college, having woken up at 6AM to catch the bus at 7:13 on the dot (although, much to my daily frustration, it was usually later). In the winter the sun was only just coming up, and in the summer the heat of the day was just starting to set in, and it often felt as though the entire world was asleep, apart from myself and those few individuals sat in that small metal box on wheels.

I waited for the day when I wouldn’t have to stand in the pouring rain for a bus that (more often than not) was twenty minutes late, getting soaked through, having predictably forgotten my umbrella in the rush to get out the door on the one day that I needed it. And now I don’t have to. Will not ever have to again. I thought I had more time on the bus.

The other day, dad and I – entirely coincidentally – drove along part of my bus route. The bus used to travel over a hill on my way home, an enormous hill, right next to the golf club. I used to time the music playing through my tinny headphones to reach its climax the moment that I reached the top of it. In the autumn the sun would be setting, and I would look out across the seemingly endless hills and fields from my seat on the top deck of the bus and feel very small. My worries didn’t seem as important when I was looking at such a beautiful view. I can still drive that way, still time my music so it builds to its crescendo at that exact point, still look out at that view, but it’s not the same. Nothing’s the same now.

I will not ever take that bus ride to college again, bleary-eyed and bored, stressing about exams and university applications and my friends. Those three hours each day didn’t seem at all special at the time. The bus was just another way of travelling from one place to another, just waiting for the next chapter of my story to get started. I think I thought of sixth form in the same way, just some kind of interim period between school and university, just waiting for the rest of my life. But now I realise that I spent all of my time waiting for it to be over, and not truly living through it. They always say that you don’t realise how important something is until it’s gone. And you never truly appreciate the journey until it’s cut short.

I never thought that I would miss the bus ride to college. But I do. I really do.