She looked through the window at her refection on the smudged glass, a reminder that others had sat in this seat before her. She didn’t recognise the woman staring back, she had become an empty soul, her life a weeping blister of hurt. The glass was cold, rain raced over the dim surface pooling at the safety mark before being cast onto the road. It was winter, it always was and she had the bruises to prove it. There was no restart button on her Poundshop life, just dull moments snatched from shit piles. She’d had almost forgotten how to smile and real laughter was an alien thing. Her life was one long lie after another and she was at the point where she believed every one of them. She pulled the collar up on her cheap coat and wished that love didn’t kill so much.
The woman on the phone screamed loudly into her mobile, she had been chasing a conversation since she had flashed her bus pass at the driver. Her narrative had been peppered with expletives and most of the other passengers now knew her love life was in tatters but she wasn’t going to let go without a fight. She obviously thought Ethan was worth it even though he had ‘been places’ at Ryan’s stag weekend in Greece.
The old man near the front tap his wife’s hand affectionately, today had been a good day. Tomorrow, well, tomorrow they would have to wait and see.
The bus driver turned the music up, he was a child of the seventies and the song brought back memories of scabbed knees and cap guns. He hummed along, thinking of his parents and what life had offered them. In three years he would be living the dream, a two berth caravan in Benidorm, just him and the wife, away from these damp winters and knotted joints. He smiled and carried on humming, throwing in an odd word here and there from memory.
The boy at the back leant against the window and put his earbuds in. In two weeks he would turn eighteen and he wondered if anyone would notice.
Luke had drank too much. It was way passed three and he couldn’t even remember what time he’d got to the pub. Everything was a blur and he honestly couldn’t give a fuck, the larger gave him some autonomy from the crap that was his life. He scraped the key into the ignition and looked into his rearview mirror; he was no longer that frightened little child, not with the alcohol behind him.
He pulled out.
Jessie looked out from the tea shop and sipped her hot chocolate. She was fighting the urge to buy a piece of cake, she was dieting, hell she was always dieting. She looked down at the wedding magazine. This time it was different, this time next year she would be married. She glanced at the engagement ring on her finger and smiled. Her first marriage had broken her but life had given her a second chance…
…until the bus ploughed into the tea shop.
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