the #8B was a double-decker. it departed Kirkcaldy at 16.14hrs. for a more scenic journey, i sat upstairs on the upper deck. i felt like a child again.
the upper deck was empty, but i chose not to sit right at the front. instead, i sat by the window, in the seat just next to the stairwell. the sun was shining. it was a beautiful afternoon. i was happy and i looked forward to seeing the sea again.
‘this should be a short and pleasant ride along the coast’ i thought to myself as the bus pressed on through the streets of Dysart. it was so quiet, i started to drift away…
… so calm. i could almost taste the sunlight.
… so calm…
…or at least it was, until Richard and Harry got on board.
both men, clearly under the influence of alcohol. i could smell it. the stench of stale beer and whisky preceded them; their loud, slurred voices and heavy footfalls heralded their arrival as they staggered and stomped up the stairwell.
my calmness now completely fucked.
of all the empty seats available to them, they just had to sit in the two front window seats: a) obscuring my panoramic view, b) invading my personal space and c) violently raping the calm escape i had hoped for.
both men appeared to be in their mid to late fifties. one of them had a limp and struggled with a bone-handled walking stick. he fell onto the seat in front of me, his mirrored shades falling from his bearded face onto the floor. he quickly retrieved them and pushed them back on his nose, covering his bleary eyes.
he immediately began to make a roll-up, which he deftly tucked being his right ear.
i watched as he fumbled around inside his duffle bag and pulled out a half-eaten Kit-Kat. he offered it to his companion: “you wantin’ this, Harry?” he asked his mate.
“Nah… yur awright” said Harry. “you goan tae thi’ shoaps tae get mair beers , Richard?” Harry asked.
“aye. am ur” said the limp man.
“ah might jist come tae yours fur wan then” he said “if that’s awright”
Richard never replied but nodded repeatedly, and somewhat exaggeratedly, like one of those novelty drink ornaments. his head bobbed back and forth as though his neck were broken.
but he was a broken man.
as the bus pushed through the narrow Dysart streets, he became quiet and somewhat melancholy. he talked of a former lover who he ‘loved more than his mother’ and how he cried for her. oh how he cried.
“we’ve aw been there, Richard, man” Harry said solemnly.
“aye. ah spose we hiv…” replied Richard, regretfully.
everything was quiet and sunlit, for a brief moment; the air almost golden. i almost felt his pain. i was about to offer some words of comfort when the conversation turned to ‘fitbaw’ and ‘buggery’.
the air turned blue. a Rangers FC shade of blue and i refused to be sucked into their Sectarian lunacy.
AND i did not really need to hear all about how he and ‘Flora’* buggered his (now dead) lover senseless; described with such meticulous attention to detail.
“… so tight it wid near rip ma foreskin aff bit it never took lang up her wee broon shitpipe, like, ken?” he said, softening, in what seemed like genuine fond remembrance.
“RICHARD!!!! ya stupit cunt! shut up- thur’s a wee lassy ahint ye!” roared Harry.
he turned around, dropping his shades to peer at me with blood-shot eyes.
without saying a word, he turned back around to his mate and said “ah miss buggerin’ her bum, tho. they were guid times…”
“RICHARD! the wee lassy!” he said, pointing to me.
“oh don’t mind me…” i said, uninterested, not looking up from my notepad.
Richard removed his shades and turned around to look at me.
i looked up, unsmiling, cool and detached.
“aw aye” he said “aw aye… you ARE an awfy braw wee thing”
“thank you” i said.
“am sorry… er… fur ma eh… ah wiz jist mindin’ o’ ma deid girlfriend” he lamented, as his eyes fixed on my breasts.
“that’s okay” i said.
“RICHARD! behave! she’s merried!” Harry interjected, looking at my left hand.
Harry then asked me outright: “ur ye merried?”
“nah” i said “i just wear that ring to keep the creeps away… it usually works too!” i added, still unsmiling.
“ah bet ah kin tell whut kindae music ye listen tae fae the way you hiv yur hair n tha’ ken?” Harry said, enthusiastically.
‘clearly what we have here is a failure to communicate…’ I thought to myself but “hit me!” was all i could muster.
“Metallica” he guessed, wildly.
“no. i hate metal” i retorted.
“whit dae ye like then, doll?” he tried.
“erm… Sigor Ros, Bjork, Dylan, Johnny Cash, Urban Gods, Patti Smith, The Velvets… i have quite catholic taste in music” i said.
“ah jist thought wi’ the storm-trooper boots n the black hair that you’d be intae Satan n tha'” he tried, again, flailing.
“er… no!” i said, curtly, returning my gaze to my notepad.
“yur awfy braw tho… awfy, awfy braw” he said softly.
“thank you” i said, without looking up.
my efforts to eject myself from their attentions was aided, as if a gift, and the two men rose from their stupor, wiped the drool from their mouths, and made moves to alight the bus.
“cheerio!” they said as they staggered and limped down the stairwell.
“see you again” said Harry
“ha!” i muttered, as i felt a sense of calm finally return to the upper deck.
i looked out the window and saw the world’s largest wind turbine in motion; its long arms elegantly spinning and slicing up the blue sky, as if it were dancing happily.
‘not long now’ i thought to myself. not long until i will be with my sweet lover, wrapped up in his arms in our blue sky cocoon.
‘not long now…’
(c) Kat McDonald 2014