“are you a lesbian..?”

are you a lesbian?

through a crack in the concrete grey sky, the sun shone bright on the waters lapping the Leven shorehead, making it sparkle in the hazy light.

i embarked the #44 to Glenrothes with five other passengers. i sat by the window and turned to look outside, but the window was too dirty to see out. so, i began to write.

at the back of the bus, two men talked of a recent visit to a psychic. one of the men, in his forties, sat and listened as the other, in his early twenties, talked fervently about his experience. an apparition. the ‘ghost’ of a young woman, with black ringlets in her hair, in Victorian dress that had manifested in a house in Kennoway. the bus stopped at a row of shops and the two men alighted.

i peered through the dirty window and saw a convenience store, a chemist and a butcher’s shop advertising buffalo meat from “Puddledub Farm”.

in front, there was a bony-faced woman in a baker boy cap. she looked around her and stared at me with sunken eyes. i shifted in my seat, beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable beneath the crushing weight of her scrutiny:

“are you a lesbian?” she asked me, bluntly.

it was at precisely this moment, the welcome distraction of a young girl dressed in feathers broke the gaze of bony-faced woman. a young girl dressed in feathers: a black broad-brimmed hat with a band of pretty feathers; feather earrings; a dream-catcher around her neck and feather-trimmed boots. she sat at the back of the bus and called her boyfriend. the angst in her voice led me to believe that all was not well in their love-nest.

i turned to gaze out the window, relieved to have broken free from such unwanted attention.

however, the relief was all too brief. i felt a bony finger poke at my arm. i ignored it, but she was dogged in her determination. she prodded my arm again, repeatedly.
i turned around, alarmed, to find the bony-faced woman’s face inches from mine.

“are you a lesbian?” she persisted.
“er… no” i replied.

“what a fucking strange thing to initiate conversation with a stranger” i thought to myself.

“you look like a lesbian!” she remarked, continuing to study my face.
“you’re very rude!” i spat back, staring her square in the eye.

i turned away, but i could still feel her eyes bear down on me.

“humph!” i heard her mutter as she rose to alight at Markinch train station.

“people are strange” i thought to myself.

i began to question people, and their motives. people make observations of others repeatedly. and people arrive at their own conclusions, either rightly or wrongly, about others in an instant. it seems that each time i use public transport i encounter colourful and characterful people. i seem to attract them, like a magnet for the strange and the strangest of strangers.

“truth is stranger than fiction” i thought to myself and arrived at this conclusion: public transport, as a means of observing the diversity of people and their idiosyncrasies, must be commended – not vilified. it is one of the more panoramic viewing platforms to study human behaviour.

after all, we are all strange. we are all unique, we are all freaks. but we are not all lesbians – but even if i were, what should it matter!?

(c) Kat McDonald 2014

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