The First Day

Justine Koffi


English II

21 September 2018

The First Day

SEPTA stands for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, but that’s really code for a very confusing system of of buses, trolleys, light rail, and commuter rail. My first time falling victim to this intricate, complex system was the summer of sixth grade.

It was the 29th of June, the first day of Breakthrough, a summer program that I was attending.  My sixth grade teacher encouraged me to apply to further my education during a time most people would be on vacation. At first, was reluctant to apply because it was all the way at 34th street, but I thought it would be be beneficial in the long run. Since that morning was my first time taking SEPTA, my friend agreed to to take the bus with me. This brought me great relief but unfortunately, I was running late that morning so she left me.  She instructed me to take the bus that stops right in front of her house. So I did.

“Next stop, 57th and Spruce!” As I sat on the bus, I thought it was kind of peculiar that the numbers were increasing rather than decreasing  since I had to be at 34th Street. She’s taken SEPTA so she knows more than I do, right? I  then dozed off a little, only to hear, “This is the last stop.”

I knew I was nowhere near where I  needed to be and I started to panic. My eyes started to fill up with tears. I had no idea where I was and I was already late. I finally decided to just go home and start the process over.  It took about 30 minutes, but I got back to my house. I called my sister and she told me to walk to Market and take the Market Frankford Line to 30th street.

The first thing I did when I   got there was go to the bathroom and get myself together before classes started. I was nervous to meet everybody, and I was determined to not let anything get in the way of me having a good first day.

The day was a success, despite my horrible morning and it was now time to leave.

As we were waiting for the bus, there was a woman who was acting kind of strange. She was talking to herself and screaming randomly. I just ignored her. I caught my friend looking right into the eyes of the strange woman, and just before I could tell her to look away, the woman started to walk towards us. My heart was racing. My first thought was to run, but that was quickly shot down because she may have tried to chase me which was  even more scary.

“What are you girls doing here?” she screamed as if she was my mother and caught me somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. I thought I was going to have a panic attack. “You’re too pretty to be in these streets!” she said as she slowly walked towards us. Was she delirious? I could smell cigarettes and weed all over her. I was lost in thought when she just shifted and bolted towards us, as to chase us away because we weren’t meant to be there. We ran, without looking back for even a second. I ran out of breath at the end of the block and turned back only to see that she was still way back at the bus stop.

I wanted to just leave and never look back, but my friend was convinced that we had to go back to that specific stop in  order to catch the bus, when we could've actually walked two more blocks to wait at the next bus stop. She wanted to go back, for the thrill maybe? I don’t know but being the follower I was back then, I went with her blindly.

As expected, the strange woman got angry and started screaming at us. All I could think was how much of an idiot I was to follow her knowing that it wasn’t right to come provoke her more. The same thing happened and my friend wanted to go back again. She had a smile on her face as if this was the best part of her day. I decided to walk to the next bus stop and she didn't follow me. I was proud of my decision, in that moment I stood up for myself which was something I wasn’t familiar with.

I couldn’t help but to look back. I saw that my friend picked up a crate, probably to fight back instead of running. To this day, I don’t know what happened and I honestly don’t care.

Although the day started and ended terribly, I still considered it one of the most influential days of my life.