the #44 bus to Leven from Glenrothes takes the ‘scenic’ route. leaving promptly at 12.32 it will, eventually, take me to my lover.
i board the #44 with my take-out latte, paying the driver £3.30 for a window seat, and the company of five other individuals.
two stops out, the middle-aged woman with a plastic purple petunia in her greying hair alights and her seat is taken by a wizened old lady with turquoise painted eyelids in a turquoise taffeta coat. she seems pleasant. she tames her windswept ‘cold tea coloured’ hair with her cat-claw fingers. i catch her eye and throw her a smile. her painted, pink, puckered mouth stretches into a nightmarish, wide and cavernous smile. her mouth is huge and full of yellow teeth. her smile takes me back to my childhood and i have flashbacks of my Aunt’s pet pony. a pony of such cantankerous nature that it would bite and spit and kick if you weren’t vigilant and responsive – the antithesis of every little girl’s dream.
a pretty girl boards the bus, weighed down with bags of shopping, a bunch of fresh flowers and a sparkling hula-hoop. she’s beautiful. she sits in the seat in front of me. the seat’s reserved for the elderly or disabled; she’s clearly neither. as beautiful as she is, and she is very beautiful, i can’t help but notice her dandruff. yes. her long, wavy, dark hair is thick with a heavy sprinkling of dandruff. large flakes of dandruff fleck the epaulettes of her heavy winter coat like freshly-fallen snow.
the double-decker bus continues to career through rural Fife.
two elderly gents alight in the small town of Windygates. Windygates. such a pretty name for a nondescript town.
i glance around the bus. there are six passengers, including myself, on the lower deck. to my right, a short woman, with even shorter hair and chewed-down and dirty fingernails, thumbs a battered and dog-eared paperback. i watch her momentarily as she wets her lips, lasciviously wets her finger and surreptitiously turns the page. she seems lost in her book.
i wince at seeing literature defaced and dog-eared. fuck.
normally, i hate to see books treated with such disrespect, but in this instance i make an exception. fifty shades of grey.
it would appear she has committed the cardinal sin of breaking the spine, prising the pages open as if to get a better view of her fantasy. indeed.
fifty shades of grey, like her colourless face; fifty shades of grey, like the town of Windygates; fifty shades of grey, like the cold, grey sea i can now see in the distance…
a teenage girl with a shock of fuschia pink hair, a pierced lip and a camel toe boards the bus. she swaggers up to the back of the bus and throws herself down on the seat, cracking her gum for effect. she quickly pulls her headphones over her ears and closes her heavily-mascara’d eyes. she too escapes from her reality. all i can hear is the tinny ‘tsk! tsk! tsk!’. i cannot make out what tune she is listening to, but its monotony reaffirms my desire not to care.
feeling irritated, i glance out the window and see the calming, graceful sails of the largest wind turbine i have ever seen stretch out like arms through the sky. i will soon be in Leven. i will soon be wrapped in the arms of my lover, in our cocoon, locked from the dull torpor and annoyance of all other life outside.
the #44 bus terminates at Shorehead. the engine shudders and groans, in seeming reluctance to stop, as it eases up to the terminus. the remaining souls alight. i hear a muffled rumble and look behind me. i am bemused to see a crumpled man, asleep in the rear. the bus is empty.
“should i awaken him?” i wonder.
“YER AW BASTURDS!” he croaks… from his sleep.
“nah…” i think i’ll sit this one out.
(c) Kat McDonald 2014