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.