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A Love Story to the 25L

By Briar Pomana (she/her)

At first I was terrified of you. You with staggering height and thunderous breath, dominating the dominion and traffic light systems. It seems all too silly now that I would spend close to an hour practicing how I would wave you down in my bedroom and even watching YouTube videos on how I could best embark you. When I finally built up the courage to catch you, the soles of my shoes were smooth. My feet were done with hour-long walks and early morning hikes. I knew that using you would further me.

I plucked up the courage one afternoon engulfed in a January sunset. I called my mum four times beforehand to make sure I was ready. She sat annoyed on the other end in Hawke's Bay, but just her breathing gently armed me well. I saw you thunder along Symonds Street across the bridge. Standing by an old record shop and a beauty parlour, I signalled you from at least twenty metres away and held my arm stiff and outward at a perpendicular angle as confidently as I could. As you approached, I noted three people atop and a driver with big hair and even bigger sunglasses. Before I knew it you were beside me as we both sighed in relief. Just like the videos I had watched of Jerome Kaino on Auckland Transport’s website, I readily allowed your reader to take me in. Your insides were cool and empty so I was spoilt for choice. Picking a raised seat near the back, I studied your patterns. Blues, yellows, darkened lines and splashes of colours here and there triggered childhood memories of daycares and waiting rooms. You weren’t entirely chic, but comfortable and clean - a sort of comforting edge about you. I made sure I knew where we were to part so as to not make a mistake. These numbers here, at this street there, across the road from Countdown.

Now, I flag you down with my back to the road in fun. Now, I am able to trace our journeys with my eyes closed, recalling every bump and bend to know when to wake and leave. I get off where I please and catch others in conjunction. I see you in humidity and storms, in dark mornings and nights. Your regulars, I know well - a strange sort of family when we are together. Moving from one point in space to another we are like rocketeers and you, our steed. I have a favourite spot on you too, still in the first place I ever sat, upraised. Now I listen to Joni Mitchell and don’t cry whilst with you. It’s as though I’ve already seen enough sunsets on my way home from uni to care too much. The murals we pass seem to change but you never do. It’s comforting to find myself in you. You sometimes annoy me with not showing up when I need you but I’m learning not to sweat the small stuff. I adore you, and want to thank you for keeping me safe and letting me lean on you when I need it the most. Perhaps this year could be the year we see space between us grow, me driving and you helping some other kid new to the city.

Never mind, you’re not allowed to leave me. It’s cheaper to keep you around.


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