From the East to the West — And Back

 

by Khristan Antoine

As the bus approaches 82nd Ave in front of Walgreen’s, everybody crowds in, anxious to get a seat on a full bus. As I enter the revolving doors and show my AC Transit plastic bus pass with my scratched photo, I zero in on a  seat next to the window. I put my feet up on top of the seat across from me and reach for my iPod and tune to my favorite song, Poetic Justice by Kendrick Lamar. Different faces — sad, tired, blank and mostly bored — stare or focus on the cement, or at KFC, or at McDonald’s or at corner stores, still locked shut at dawn.

It’s a long, long ride for me — almost an hour — so I brace myself for the stares and glares and the rowdy high school kids (who have shorter rides than I) in the back of the bus.

The bus is my second home — I spend two hours a day, ten hours a week, one quarter of the time I spend at school, trying to go back and forth, on four buses.

I live in the East but attend McClymonds High School in the West, because I feel at home in the West. I was born and raised in West Oakland and so I feel loyal to these streets and the community. So if it takes 2 buses to get to school every day, then it’s worth it. I want to graduate from McClymonds to become a part of a great legacy of legends and be a Mack Warrior.

And so the bus is the means to graduation from Mack. And a known factor. Already as a kid, I felt comfortable on the bus. My mom has been AC Transit driver for eleven years, so I am familiar with the routes,what buses come out of the different stations. I’ve been to the bus yard where all the buses are lined up in the parking lot, like toy Legos. If there were an SAT test on East Bay bus routes and which landmarks they pass, I’d ace it.

 

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