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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Compost in the Daylight: Crying on the Peter Pan


“The last time I was on a public bus I was also crying.”

I took the Peter Pan bus from South Station to Hartford my sophomore year so I could be with my family on Thanksgiving.

I was upset. What was a burgeoning Milton expert who had found “her people” doing on a bus to Connecticut? I didn’t want to leave the campus I was falling in love with, so I cried next to the other odd pairs of strangers who could cough up 20 bucks for a bus ticket.

I wrote the first sentence of this article in my notes app three weeks ago. I recently took the Peter Pan to Hartford again, though this time it was exciting. I was going to see a Declan McKenna concert with my siblings.

Then my mom called me, saying, “Monty’s going to die. You can say goodbye to him if you stop home before the show.”

But the beautiful detail about crying on a public bus is that you’re just another freak who paid for a $20 ticket. No one’s going to bother you to discover that your dog of 17 years had fallen over that morning, was unable to get up and was shaking in his bed waiting for you to come home so you could hug him before your parents took him away.

When I got there, he was shaking — and he looked so scared. Then I left and saw the best concert of my life.

The thing is, though, when I wrote “The last time I was on a public bus I was also crying,” I wasn’t referring to leaving Tufts for Thanksgiving. When I was a sophomore, I didn’t realize it was possible to fall in love with a completely different school across the world.

In England, I made a friend named Maximillian who had the wackiest outfits but the kindest heart. One time I fell over after playing a football match against Cambridge and my best friend covered me in blankets. And this one boy used to carry me home from the pub on his shoulders.

When my friend Faye put me on the bus that would take me to the airport for the last time, I froze. She held my hand as I prepared to leave my home behind the wheels of public transport.

Crying there was exactly like the time I cried as a sophomore, and then again as a senior preparing to let her dog go. I thought I was saying goodbye to something I would never get back. And I didn’t. Tufts no longer has a rosy tint of excitement because I’m 19 and thrilled to go to a frat party. My dog’s dead. And I’ll never be a student at Oxford again.

But certainly, that’s the rush of a public bus. No one cares that I’m never going to get back the things I once loved; perhaps that stiff indifference is what I need to keep myself from folding under the expectations of new experiences, so I can find other things to cry over on the Peter Pan.