"I don't want to be here," she thought. Simply stated, that resolution allowed her to transcend her displeasing surroundings and focus on the grand image she was fabricating of the evening to come.

"Tonight..." she thought, "Tonight I'll wear all white and hold a long-stemmed glass and jabber with elegant people and yes, if I become bored I will concentrate on the shininess of the lipstick I'll be wearing. When speech begins to appear ridiculous, I will replace my hope in arriving together in enlightening conversation to the lofty intersection of mutual understanding with pleasure in the simple vanity of expertly executing the motions of social grace. I'll be charming, and..." as she searched her brain for new adjectives with which to describe her enchanting demeanor, the woman next to her by the window screamed.

All at once she became aware of the extent to which she had brought herself into this crystal image of escapism, for at that moment she felt so exonerated by her own imagination that the scream itself, after its initial shock value, became the object of her hatred.

Initially, she had been startled so greatly that adrenaline had charged her body with the power to flee rapidly like a hunted animal, and yet she was imprisoned upon this bus; the hunky, awkward, metal and plexiglass legs of public transportation. That she couldn't flee increased her hatred of the object of that shrill vocal intrusion, for after it's explosion, the woman closed her eyes and leaned her stringy, matted hair and obtrusive cranium against the streamlined silver interior, and lost consciousness.

It was the scream that had awakened her into the full, bright and humid present, where bodies gave up their movement to the faith that dots on a city map would be linked by the intraliminal path of this single, lurching product of capital wealth. It required incredible will power to remain cognizant of her place, not to drift again into the vain delusions of her future. For even if she hated that woman for forcing her displacement, it was shame that made her return here. She felt ridiculous and petty that her method of accepting her physical fate had been to resort to social distinction - for she knew that she had been seeking only the asinine certainty that she rose above.

In this moment, though, she found herself in a synthetic wool bucket seat of striped magenta and royal blue, part of the same plastic mold that the screaming woman had chosen and where she came to understand, through a series of angry and confused stares, that most of the other people on the bus had mistaken her as the screamer; their chosen object of pity or hatred.

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