The yellow school bus is like real life. It takes you from one destination to another, and gives you no control over who can get on or off.
Because everybody has a bus pass. There's just no guarantee for a smooth ride. "Stop! Stop it! Stop calling me that!!!" A fragile figure stumbles away from the bus, her long black hair flapping in the wind, obscuring her doll-like face as she flees from her tormentors.
In wobbly steps, she rushes downhill for the university student housing complex. The farther away she runs from the bus, the louder the chanting becomes.
"Chink chink chink! Going back to Chinatown!" The same group of boys who were flirting with her just minutes ago, are now leaning out of the bus window and showering her with the ugliest of all words.
She looks back once more. Her gentle features smeared by a sea of black tears. Her heart-shaped face stretched like an overinflated Valentines balloon about to burst.
Sweet little M -- the best English speaker and the most "Americanized" among us foreign students -- lives on the opposite side of the complex from me.
My stop is next.
"Don't worry!" B cozies up next to me in the seat and winks.
"You're Taiwanese, you're not a commie."
I understand everything that's been said, and now I'm more confused than ever.
Chinese are not the only ones on the receiving end of insults. I've seen a new student from Egypt having to defend her ethnicity time and time again, just because she wouldn't choose between being black or white.
The line of division doesn't stop there. It swirls around indiscriminately, wiggling its way through racial, social and geographical diversity.
On the yellow school bus, it's always the same people who release the arrow.
They think they're so different, but they all look one and the same to my untrained eye.
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Up next, 1993!