I’ve never been this late before, the traffic was crawling down the road like an over-sized, smog spluttering caterpillar. The young man next to me was immaculately dressed, his shirt and trousers carefully ironed. He probably had a job interview or something because he was rubbing his fingers into his hand which was far too sweaty for early May.
We still weren’t getting anywhere, maybe the caterpillar was dying. The young man picked up his satchel and walked to the front of the bus, obviously in an attempt to get the bus driver to let him off. After a short interaction there was a pause for what I suspect was a long sigh before the sound of releasing pressure as the doors opened.
Fascinated with the young man, I watched him hop off the bus and dart through the cars before speed-walking off down the street, the flap on his satchel bobbing behind him like an excitable dog. Luckily, sat next to the door, I pulled out of my trance just in time to get off the bus myself. I jogged between the cars trying to keep the young man in sight but as I passed a silver Mercedes, the man inside stole my attention. He was staring right at me, a threateningly deadpan expression on his face. His head turned and tracked me as I walked and I could feel his stare pass right through me. I – ‘Sorry!’ – my attention snapped back to where it was required, in front of me. The man I had just bumped into already passed me, unphased by our collision. As I looked back ahead for the young man I caught a glimpse of his satchel as it went through a glass door. McKenzie Associates.
Now the man was gone, I could focus on other, more important things. The time is 9.17, I need to get to school. I ran on through the crowds of people and was greeted at the school gates by the encouraging sight of a grumpy admin, she was smoking. I walked up to her and stopped, she didn’t even bother to look at me. She began scribbling something on her sheet of paper, my name no doubt. Shoulders slumped with the weight of the knowledge of my detention after school, I trudged past her. Glancing sideways, Hovis, milk and eggs, maybe I was in the clear.
How did she not see me?
I would tell you about school but it’s Monday, wait Wednesday; does that illustrate my point?
‘Hey Alicia.’ A dry, bored voice called out from behind the bins. It was Joel, I went to primary school with him but he smoked and I didn’t like the smoke, it made me cough. At least someone acknowledged my existence. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ Another voice I didn’t recognise. ‘I promise you, I can tell when she’s here!’ Joel again… wait, what?