another example

It’s possible that I’m over inflating this one, but it’s further proof, if any more were needed, of my continued gross ineptitude.


It’s about 1am and you’re standing at the night bus stop attempting to recall the mesh of conversations from the two distinct halves of the evening.  You’re not closed to the idea of one more.

A fraught looking bottle blonde approaches: dark roots, pale complexion, black leather jacket, similar age, imposing and steely but not unattractive.  You exchange a glance as she nears the shelter to wait.  Another glance, half smile which says tsk, reduced to this whole night bus thing again, eh? You dismiss the idea of saying something out loud. Ludicrous idea.

She digs through a handbag and extracts a packet of cigarettes, lights one and smokes deeply, therapeutically, like she needs it.  A taxing evening shepherding a drunken friend?  An argument with her boyfriend?  ‘Looks therapeutic,’ you could say, and chat from there.  She glances in your direction again and you both look away.

You don’t like smoking generally but sympathise with the manner in which she does, perhaps she half expects you to ask her for one.  You don’t smoke.  She smokes considerately though, not too close, it twines and floats upwards into the mild, neon-lit Piccadilly sky.  Looks therapeutic, you could still say?  Why not?

You don’t.

Your bus arrives when she’s a couple of puffs from the end of her cigarette.  She’s not rushing and could easily be waiting for one of the many other buses which go from here.  You’re an idiot, you think, and shuffle towards the braking double decker with a small throng of revellers.  In you step with the other bleary dregs, none misbehaved, bleeping your Oyster card before selecting the back seat of the lower deck.  A dozen more people enter the vehicle after you, evenly splitting themselves between the upper and lower decks.

Then the fraught blonde.  As she steps aboard your eyes briefly connect before flitting away.  There are still plenty of seats available but she walks down the aisle and takes the backwards-facing seat which directly faces you.  You uncross your legs to allow more space.

You could still say something.  What?  Would it need to be a good line?  Or could it just be anything?  It doesn’t matter that much.  You’ve shared enough space and time for it not to seem too out of the blue now.  You’re thinking about it too much.  Minutes and miles pass as you mull your lines and the bus rolls West.

You dickhead, you tell your reflection.

She scrutinises her iPhone with thick industrious looking hands, dials a number but doesn’t speak, looks at it again.  Short stubby fingernails, partly nibbled?  You notice her phone has a seriously smashed screen and the unconsidered words tumble from your mouth, “What dyou do there?”

“Forgot it was on my lap when I got out of the car,” she says, “skidded along the pavement.”  She says this like you’ve been chatting for some time already, your conversation had merely paused.

You discuss repairs, iPhones and you nosily swipe through the pages of her applications.  She doesn’t appear to mind.  She’s a teacher, (another bloody teacher), had been out with a group of teachers and was obliged to steward a drunk friend.  You ask her about teaching and she tells you, but not with the relentless gushing abandon of many.

She tells you the part of town where she lives, that there was another more direct bus but she was bored waiting.  She’s tired of London too, only moved here for a bloke, is moving back to Kent soon.  It’s better for her dog.  You detect singleness.  There’s nothing explicitly, or even subtly flirtatious about the conversation, as far as you can tell.

You’re aware she’s long missed her stop but you don’t want the easy, free-flowing conversation to end.  Is she..?  Could she be interes-.?  In the back of your mind winks the idea of not telling her at all, not until you reach your stop, so you’d both alight at the same place.  And then.. and then..?  Who knows?

You feel a nagging press of obligation.  Although the best thing would have been to flag her stop to her as you had passed it.  Which you didn’t.  And the most calculated thing would be to say nothing at all.

“You know where we are now, right?”

There are nice to meet yous and smiles when she hurriedly alights in a pleasant inner suburb, although it is the dead of night.  Anyone could be about.  For a moment you feel like getting out with her, making sure she’s ok and gets a cab easily. It’s not THAT far of a walk from here to your flat.  No.  Stupid, and massive potential for awkwardness, which must always be avoided at all costs.  She’s very much a grown woman who looks like she can handle herself.

Instead you smile, nod, wave feebly like a bollockless twat, and watch her go.  The bus coasts on and you wait for the rolling wave of regret to hit.


2 Responses to another example

  1. Blonde says:

    Tsk. Faint heart never won blonde who was asking you to ask for her number…

  2. swashbuckled says:

    oh, really? If only she’d used some words along those lines..

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