WWIn: Secret

I’m slightly sleepless so thought I’d do a strange short prose piece inspired by Wednesday Write-in #61


menthol  ::  blind date  ::  fried  ::  secret  ::  chit-chat

When the chattering bus slows to a halt and I get on I get on with my secrets. They crowd me jostling elbows, knees knock, hands brush sides and someone’s fingers graze my hip. It’s full on this bus. I read the sign, 43 seated, 13 standing (1 wheelchair). We are standing and I am breathing much breathed air, it is smudging the windows and the secrets are loud in here, they get louder as we lurch at traffic lights and they spill and slop inside as the bus rocks around the corner like some giant whale’s ungainly yet smooth motion beneath water. I think about what I always think about on buses, what if the driver changes their mind and decides to go somewhere else? That scene from whatever movie where the bus ricochets up a narrow road with a sheer drop on one side and you can feel the tempting crash coming. I imagine the bus driver changes their mind at this second, bored with the baggage, bored with passengers, and we go tilting over into some unmapped streets with no bus stops, down narrowing roads and slender armed bike-less passages and people realise and start shouting and someone lights up a menthol cigarette in desperation, someone else smacks it from them and stomps on it and there’s a fight.  The driver isn’t even bothered and is taking us somewhere, and we don’t know where as we get further from the familiar bus route and city centre becomes a longed for dream. And perhaps we reach some god-forsaken small English town where people have been waiting for us. All of my childhood collects there, a nightmare blind date with the secrets the secrets toppling from the bus and milling into the waiting arms of my dreams.



12 thoughts on “WWIn: Secret

  1. A great piece of insomniac writing. A real flow of words and thoughts. If you ever dream the number of the bus route,let me know so I can avoid it.

    However, my reading of it was interrupted by the use of the non-gender specific possessive personal pronoun, “their” instead of a “his” or a “hers”. Now I know we shouldn’t use the latter two unless the gender is known, but “their” jars for me. “Their” is plural. There is only one driver. Normally. I think we should use “its”; the argument against is “its” is not for people. I say, why not. Language is a living thing and needs to adapt to changes morals and mores. Don’t google this issue. You’ll be there all night. No sleep at all.

    • Hey Patrick! Thanks for the comments. I didn’t want to give the driver a gender, if it’s a woman people will stop to think about it being a woman, if it’s a man then it’s too easily accepted that a man is the driver…but yeah I see your point about the jar. Maybe I would have to extend it and introduce the bus driver complete with mannerisms so that I’d have to make my mind up. I slept eventually lol.

  2. So many great word-pictures created here – I could really feel your story unfolding in my imagination as I read. I love the last sentence or two, and the sensations they conjure – a bit of complete abandon, a little touch of panic, a sprinkling of terror… I really enjoyed this.

  3. This is great. I especially like the ending. I can see it working really well as a spoken word piece, or even a short film.

    • Thanks Emily! Thanks for the follow too I’m reading your blog now with interest. I do spoken word so maybe I’ll try it out on stage next time I’m there, I love the idea of a short film! x

  4. The worry that the bus driver would suddenly take the passengers on a detour made me smile. I’ve had the same thoughts. 🙂

  5. Whew, what a journey, getting more and more worrying every minute. I love the fight over the cigarette!

  6. I really liked this. Especially how the journey unfolded itself image after image. A very rich piece. I really loved the idea of the secrets being like baggage she carried with her on the journey.

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