Rain-Damp, On The 510 Bus
There's a particular type of cold to be found at bus stops: whether rain damped or wind chilled or bit with ice. It fosters a particular type of appreciation for the thick piled fabric of the bus seat cover. The fabric pattern is avant-garde, brightly coloured.
The bus doors are open. Onions are frying, over at the Gong Fu Kitchen. The driver waits for an elderly couple to recover suitcases from a taxi. He steps out to lift the cases in, while they worry that the taxi driver has left without a tip: I meant to give him something, the lady sighs. They look for their bus passes, synchronised. I never would have thought of the bus, the lady sighs, but eight quid it saves. She shows her pass. Her husband nods and holds out her cardigan sleeves so she can slip her arms in and warm up. The driver asks them which stop; there are two in their village. The second one, they say. He is a foreigner, the lady notes as they sit down, for no discernible reason.
At the rear of the bus a man speaks, softly, to himself. The bus rumbles, loud. Rain rolls horizontal over wide windows. The lady unfolds a plastic rain hood to tie over her hair. She will go home and brew a pot of tea: they will have a tea cozy to keep their brew hot. They thank the driver, waddle the cases off: I will need my mac, she says, and thank you so much. The bus doors close.
I like this bus. It goes just fast enough to fright me. Everyone smiles and there's no sense of dystopia: just the usual messy sort of life made of things that went right, or didn't.