I met her at the bus stop,
our eyes met over cigarettes.
and we spoke a while.
Instant obvious attraction.
She was Romanian,
living in Manchester,
flying home to see family.
She looked intently.
“You are nice man, will you watch my bag?”
and she went to find the toilets.
Then I took the English gent further;
decoding the timetable wording for her,
standing close to shield her
as she lit another fag.
Our hands touching.
“Are you going on my bus?”
she said, hopeful. Soft smile.
An hour in the wrong direction?
“No. Sorry, I’m going home.”
She asked again 2 minutes later.
An hour. To an airport. For a girl who lived in Manchester.
“No. I can’t.”
Her bus came,
she waved sadly and went.
Riding home I realised that this was the wrong bus.
The bus seats are a riot
of eighties brown-and-orange;
gum-flecked and grease-stained.
Wet coats steam a little.
as is always the case,
though their shoulders,
and even thighs
cramped together on the benches.
And the bus chunters on, through
Droplets condense on smeared window glass,
as outside grey skies
and neon raincoats pass.
and the headphone hi-hats rattle
as we all ride the bus,
into work again.
Isn’t public transport in wet weather a drab experience? In fact it’s fairly un-fun in pretty much any weather, as each person shuts the imaginary curtains around their personal world, and puts on a blank expression as they strenuously avoid any sort of human contact with everybody around them. It would be nice to chat to each other on buses and trains, and sometimes it will happen, but the fact is that if someone strikes up conversation with you on public transport there is a fair to good chance they will be a nutter. I guess that’s why everyone shuts themselves off in their own world.