Bus Stop Encounters

by | Nov 29, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments

A prose poem:

For those of us who live a solitary life, whose senses are dulled by age,

a scent at the bus stop can lift the day — If you’re brave enough to ask the woman

with a punk hairstyle (tinged with pink) sitting next to you,

“Are you wearing perfume?”

My question surprises, startles. Does she expect an attack?

“Yes,” she replies.

“It’s nice,” I say and she explains, her family got together to buy it —

Dior, you know. Expensive.

And now ‘nice’ weaves between us, a whiff of gladness, a fleetingconnection.

And I have to smile when I hear her say,

“I’ll take the bus ‘cause I couldn’t be arsed to walk up the hill.”

Her words resound,

for I have no choice

but to walk up the hill.

‘Use local transport’ comes travel advice. And so I do.
The elderly man at the bus stop carries a white stick. He’s wearing a lilac-grey blazer, shorts, and reflective glasses that hide his eyes.
“Are you all right?” I ask.
“I’m managing,” he says. “My guide dog died and, because of Covid, I’ve already been waiting two years for a replacement.”
He climbs onto the bus, but only travels a couple of stops, down the hill.
So I’m surprised to find him at my local bus stop the next morning, waiting for the bus that will take us both into the centre of town.
He tells me he’s ex-military and asks (somewhat apologetically) about my accent. I suppose this is because these days, crazily, it’s not PC to ask where someone’s from. His excuse is that he’s interested in linguistics. Who would have thought?
The bus arrives. An elderly woman gets off.
“Hallo Alan,” she says.
And I think, “Yes, the name absolutely suits him.”