The bus stop was filled with people waiting for their buses. Rani and Salmah stood at the fringe of the crowd. They chatted non-stop about things in school, their friends, and just about everything in general. It was a good way to pass the time while waiting for the bus.
A few buses arrived and stopped to pick up the passengers. Almost nobody bothered to queue. It was a disorderly affair boarding a bus, but somehow everyone managed it without much trouble.
In the midst of an interesting piece of gossip, Rani saw a yellow bus arrived at the bus stop. “Oh, bother. I have to go,” declared Rani. “See you later Salmah.” Rani waved goodbye to Salmah and joined in the rush up the bus.
With practiced ease, Rani scrambled into the bus and found herself a seat. She sat down gladly. Those who boarded late would have to stand.
The last of the passengers got on and the bus began to move. Rani looked out the window and saw Salmah standing where they had stood just moments ago. They waved at each other. just as the bus moved off Rani saw Salmah waving frantically while pointing at the bus. What was that all about? Rani thought. She would have to ask Salmah tomorrow in school.
The bus was almost full and the conductor had a hard time making his way through the passengers to collect the fare. When he reached Rani, she gave him forty sen and received a ticket in return. Next, Rani sat back to enjoy the rest of the journey.
The bus passed by familiar landmarks stopping now and then to unload and pick up passengers. As the bus continued its journey Rani realized, to her horror, that she was on the wrong bus, for the bus just took a road that led to another part of town! The horror of horrors thought Rani. How could she have done such a stupid thing?
The man sitting beside Rani looked at her quizzed as she fidgeted restlessly for a while. Then Rani decided to take action before the bus got too far into the wrong way. She stood up and rang the bell.
After cruising for a few hundred meters or so, the bus stopped at a regular stop. Some passengers got down. So did Rani. There was no point continuing in the wrong direction. She would have to take a bus back to the original bus stop so that she could get on the correct bus. She sighed as she crossed the road to another bus stop on the other side.
Fortunately, she had enough money to take these unexpected bus trips, otherwise, she would have to walk home and that was a good ten kilometers away. Now she knew why Salmah was waving so frantically just now. Salmah realized she was on the wrong bus. Served her right for gossiping so much. Anyway, what done was done. She would have to be more careful next time about boarding a bus.