The stars twinkled overhead with a cruel innocence, mocking my band of adventurers.

We were stranded.

Our shopping trip now a distant memory, my friends and I were stuck in the store’s parking lot, waiting for a bus back to campus. With plastic shopping bags littered between us, and enough Coke cans to fill several of our miniature fridges, we looked like an advertisement for why bus riders should always check the schedule.

Finally a bus pulled in front of us and, with a metallic groan, stopped. We gathered our new belongings and walked slowly to the opening doors.

“Where on Central Campus is this bus heading?” my friend asked the driver.

“There are no buses going back there tonight,” he answered. “It is past ten.”

Crushed, we were turning back to our dewy patch of grass when he added that the bus pulling up behind him was headed to North Campus. From there we could catch another to Central.

We were saved.

That bulky bus was so beautiful to me at that moment. Even the consuming smell of diesel was welcome.

Inside it was warm and the seats surprisingly comfortable. In no time, we came to a sudden stop and were released to the brisk night air of North Campus.

We stepped down from the bus to music and laughter: waiting at the stop was a trio of well-dressed voice and musical theater majors. We looked shabby in comparison.

Not wanting a repeat of our former situation, one of my friends went over to ask when the next bus would be coming and where it would take us.

“Where are you going?” the only girl asked in response.

“East Quad,” three of us answered in unison.

“…Mojo for me,” said our fourth member.

After we were assured that the coming bus would indeed take us to the stops we needed, our moods lightened even more. Two of our new acquaintances sung a melody so harmonious we hung on every note. When they finished, we asked them to sing some more.

“If you want to hear me sing, then go to the freshmen concert,” said the girl matter-of-factly.

I barely noticed when we boarded the bus that, just a short time ago, we couldn’t wait for. We followed the newest additions to our band and sat excitedly across from them.

As we tried again to get them to sing, the girl asked us what our majors were.

“Physics,” one friend answered.

“Art History,” another said a little uncertainly.

“Well then,” the girl with the fiery hair said, “do four physics problems for me. Tell me about Vincent van Gogh.”

We laughed and said, “That’s not the same.”

But it was to her.

The two young men were more outgoing, and after some pleading, they agreed to give us a singing lesson. To begin, they told us to sit up straight.

“Bad posture,” one said airily.

“Horrible posture,” the other chanted.

A little disconcerted, we adjusted our spines and sat waiting at the end of our seats. Literally.

They told us that the voice’s power comes from the diaphragm. I had heard this before, but my diaphragm seemed unaware and uncooperative.

We whined and our voices cracked as we tried to mimic their operatic sounds.

“Now yawn.”

We looked at them like we were missing the joke.

“Yawn,” one repeated with a sweet smile.

We did. It didn’t work.

When the blonde boy yawned it brought to mind a brilliant golden lion. Soft, yet commanding, his voice caressed the air and flowed seamlessly from pitch to pitch.

When we tried, it sounded more like dogs barking.

As we sang and laughed the bus was moving, and soon our unplanned concert came to a sharp end. It was their stop, a party waited, and they departed with swift goodbyes.

We sat for a moment absorbed in our own thoughts. Then, the bus screeched to another halt.

Our stop. We jumped off the elevated platform and walked swiftly in the crisp night.

All the while, I was texting. Not to my friends and not to my family, but to myself. Quotes, expressions, feelings, and actions: they were all sprawled out on my phone. Texting has became my twenty-first-century pen and paper.

As I texted, their sweet melodies danced inside my head.