17) Bus Stop
March 20, 2013 § 3 Comments
She walked by me everyday.
Her vacant stare was what drew me in. You could tell she wasn’t focusing her blue eyes on anything solid in front of her. She was just walking, letting her feet do the seeing.
A small blanket was always wrapped around her shoulders. It was probably technically a scarf, but it was thick and woolen, like the kind of throw your Mum would place on top of you when you fell asleep on the couch. It was on her shoulders everyday.
Some days it was really hot, the sun would beat down on me and the other people waiting forever at the bus stop. We would collectively wipe the sweat from our brows and raise our eyebrows at eachother, saying “it’s hot, isn’t it?” without any words. Yet she would walk by, dreamily, in her thick scarf, hugging it close to her chest with worried fingers and that expressionless face.
I’ve never noticed how much the lack of something can be so powerful, but her blank face told us of all the secrets she would never be asked to tell.
And how it was the day she didn’t walk by that I really noticed her presence. After years of seeing her spindly legs wander endlessly down the road, I became unnerved by her absence.
I thought quickly of all the possibilities. Maybe she had died. Maybe she had moved. But from where?
I realised I saw this woman more than I saw some of my friends, and her saunter past me every morning was the one constant I had in my hectic life, the one thing I could truly rely on.
I should have talked to her, asked her where she was going. Maybe she was walking passed every morning just waiting for someone to stop her and say “are you ok?”
I felt so guilty. I looked around the bus stop for a familiar face but the crowd was a blur of unknown suits and rain jackets. I never paid attention to anyone else who made this journey, only my lonesome woman.
I glanced at my watch. The bus would arrive any second.
That was when I saw her, tip toeing down the pavement towards the bus stop. Her blanket was firmly in place and she was staring at the horizon, exactly where the sky melts into the earth, heading for it with conviction.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Everything was back to normal. She passed by as the bus drew up to the stop and I jumped on.
As we drove away I noticed a man look back at the woman through his window, a quiet smile brushing the corners of his lips.