Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
Among the many reasons I like Croatian bus drivers is that they will carry on conversations with you knowing full well you don’t speak the language. A test of your sense of humor, perhaps. A display of their own. A smile and a slow blink seems to demonstrate the proper respect and good spirit.
Our bus stopped at the border crossing and when the engine cut, it became clear the wait would be long and August hot. The driver crawled out with our stack of passports. In the backseat of a car idling at another line, a little girl leaned closed to her window. She craned her neck to gaze at our massive bus. She mimed eating corn on the cob while rolling her eyes and wagging her head. Adorable, she chattered away, entertaining herself while her parents offered identification to the guards. She finished one invisible cob and started on another until she collapsed into a fit of laughter. This drew glances from her parents–her father using the rearview mirror, her mother shifting in the passenger seat. The little girl only laughed harder under their gaze, causing her parents to crack smiles as well.
On the other side of the bus, a customs man in an office opened his window, which then served as a mirror reflecting the activity on his computer screen. A row of teenaged girls began making inquiries aloud, studying the man from behind their sealed bus windows. The one word that translated perfectly was “facebook!” They leaned over each other to stare at the computer, hoping he would check his news feed, dying for him to fill his idle time with more than his cup of coffee and sighing. While the bus driver chatted with the guards and waited for clearance, the girls grew warm and anxious. They wanted to see the man tempted.
Alas, the calm employee listened to a radio on the desk, peered into his coffee. The girls groaned when we finally began to move forward. And the office man, so well-behaved, turned to his computer screen as the bus rolled away.
–Border Crossing: Croatia into Montenegro. (Photo: Kotor, Montenegro)