I had a temporary contract working at the local university, helping one of the professors put together a series of reports for the Department of Education. Twelve years later, all I remember about the job was the professor (a lovely man with an unfortunate stutter on the letter 'F', which was particularly unfortunate when his name was Frank Fishwick), and the girl on the bus that I used to take to get to work.

The university was at the end of a long-ish bus route which used to take in several villages. The kids would take this bus to get to one of the local high-schools. Since I got on at the bus station, I was there for the whole route, and got a seat that allowed me to see the whole bus.

I noticed the girl as soon as she got on. She was around fifteen or sixteen and she was lovely. Now most girls of that age are fairly attractive but this one was something really special.

She was tall, noticeably so, maybe 5'10", with a willowy kind of slimness, not skinny, obviously a girl.

Her hair was dark brown, shiny, and cut in a sleek bob that curled into a long neck.

Her skin was clear, slightly olive and luminous, the kind of look you normally only get with make-up and photographic retouching.

Her eyes were deep, chocolatey brown, and shone, her lips, full without being thick, her nose, straight and not too long.

She moved, her head up, with unconscious grace.

This girl was more than pretty, she was utterly, utterly beautiful. And she was completely unaware of it.

She sat with her girlfriends, talking about music and TV, and other standard teenage subjects, while in the seat in front, a boy of about her own age, obviously smitten, clowned around constantly in an attempt to impress her. Occasionally she would giggle at his antics. She also used to cast surreptitious glances at one of the older boys, and blush if he caught her doing it, but she didn't flirt, and never mentioned a boyfriend.

I saw her every day for a month and wondered every day at her perfection. After the contract ended, I never saw her again.

Every so often, I wonder what happened to her, when I catch a glimpse of that grace in somebody else. I wonder if the perfection faded as she grew up, did her beauty bring her happiness, or pain? It never brought her fame, certainly -- I would have recognised that face if I ever saw it again.

But for a month, every morning, it made me smile.

The girl on the bus.
Sitting there.
Our eyes would meet,
then slowly
drift away.
Like the summer breeze
on a blooming hill.

Her blue eyes would find
my green
across a sea of faces.
Rewarding me
with a soft smile.

I will take the bus tomorrow.

Update: After I wrote this sort of poem, I bumped into the girl in question a couple of times, and we've become good friends. After sorting out she's actually a lesbian, at the moment, that is.
6 stops to go.
I flag down the bus and jump. My wallet stays in my pocket and I nearly drop it on the floor. I think I recovered my dignity when I gave the driver the correct change. I turn around, looking up the bus for a spare seat.
Oh, there's one! Near that girl with the sunglasses.

5 stops to go
I walk up the bus and sit down.
You're looking at me. Your face is looking forward but I can see your eyes through the glasses. Is that interest I see?
The seat is diagonally behind her so I sit in the most comfortable position I can think of at that moment - with my back to the window so I could face her.

4 stops to go
I can see you perfectly here, admire your profile as you sit there. I look around at the other people on the bus but I always seem to end up looking at you.

3 stops to go
What this, you're moving.
She's facing all of the posters around the top of the bus and still doesn't know that I can see her eyes.
You're looking at me, aren't you.

2 stops to go
I am blatently looking at her now. She's looking at me now, not pretending anymore. I smile. You smiled back!

Next stop
Wow, is this really happening? You are gorgeous and you're looking at me?
My heart is thumping
I don't know what to do! I don't think I'm just sweating because of the heat now. My brain is getting fuzzy so I just smile and lean forward ever so slightly and she brush's her hair back.

My stop
I have to get up now, it can't be helped! The bus stops and I get off but I still have to know!
I'm standing outside of the bus now with nothing to lose so I just watch as she pulls away. She smiles at me regretfully and I can see her deflating.
Oh well, perhaps another time.

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