Riding the Bus with My Sister

Riding the Bus with My Sister

by

Rachel Simon

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Riding the Bus with My Sister: 13. May: Matchmaker Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Beth decides to help Rachel find a husband. As she puts it in one of her letters, “I wAnt to HavE a driver as a BrothEr in law.” Rachel tells Beth no, because she isn’t interested in a relationship. But secretly, she is. One evening, she hears one of Sam’s favorite songs playing in the supermarket and realizes how much she misses him. She worries that she’ll never find love, and she has stopped dating because she’s terrified of being hurt. Beth agrees not to try to set any of the drivers up with Rachel, but she still constantly tells them that Rachel is single.
Beth’s stable, loving relationship with Jesse starkly contrasts with Rachel’s isolation and fear of intimacy. Rachel recognizes that she needs to overcome this fear, and her chapters about the past show that she knows it stems from her childhood. Moreover, she seems to understand that her year with Beth is an important first step toward addressing this fear. Not only is Beth a great role model for romantic fearlessness, but by spending time with Beth, Rachel also learns to recognize her loneliness and accept being vulnerable with the people she loves.
Themes
Love and Family Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
One night, Rachel calls a driver named Rick to interview him for an article about Beth and the buses. He’s charming, unpretentious, and funny. After the interview, he asks Rachel out for dinner—she thanks him but says that she’s too busy. A few weeks later, he writes her a letter with the same invitation, but she turns him down again and implies that she already has “some romantic drama” going on. On the phone, Beth says she didn’t know that Rachel had a boyfriend—but she promises not to pry, or to keep trying to set her up with Rick.
Beth is clearly orchestrating Rick and Rachel’s courtship from behind the scenes, and they are clearly well-matched for each other. But it’s less clear whether Rachel turns down Rick’s invitations out of genuine disinterest or simply because of the lifelong fear of intimacy that she has just described. In the following chapters, she will both delve deeper into this fear and start to resolve it.
Themes
Love and Family Theme Icon