a humdrum day. an appointment in my former home town means a merry jaunt on a bus to Glenrothes so, with that said, with a tepid soy latte in hand and caffeine coursing through my veins, i board the X40 and sit by the window.
it’s a single-decker and relatively clean. however, i cannot fully recall the last time i journeyed on a bus with windows i could actually see through. these were no exception.
the atmosphere is subdued. newspaper readers at the rear; sleepers at the front; music afficionados in the middle and some weird girl, in a black ‘Game of Thrones’ type coat and cherry red Doc Marten’s, scribbling (backwards, i may add) in her ‘bus blog’ journal…
[yeah, that’s me….]
an elderly lady, with casual elegance, dressed in brown corduroy and turquoise plaid sits across the aisle, with her knotted hands in her lap. her silver bobbed hair swept off her face with a cerulean blue ribbon. she is smiling to herself. i look at her feet. she is wearing men’s shoes and thick grey woollen socks. she turns to me and says:
“you have very beautiful eyes!”
i thank her.
“i like your style” she adds, pointing to my boots and black furry coat.
“what day of the week were you born on?” she asks.
“Friday” i say.
her face is like a relief map of Chile. the creases on her face deepen as she grins at me, exposing oversized and ill-fitting dentures.
the bus rattles along the road, as do her teeth. i can hear them. i find myself on the cusp of both amusement and being completely creeped out when she asks:
“may i take your picture?”
i agree, but my reluctance must have shone through. she reassures me that it is for her own research. my intrigue now tickled, i am a photographer.
she delves into her canvas satchel and takes out a beaten-up old Polaroid camera.
i smile. she tells me not to.
i laugh because i normally don’t smile in photographs – as a photographer, i don’t encourage my subjects/models to either.
she takes my photograph, and writes ‘FRIDAY‘ on it in red ink.
she tells me that she is writing a book on the subject.
“fascinating…” i reply.
meanwhile, at the rear of the bus, the readers rustle and tut; down front, the sleepers snore and stir and snap their dry mouths. they splutter – like the bus engine.
i look at the one sleeper. he seems ancient. i look at his ears. they are covered in warts, like barnacles. i wonder to myself for just how long has this man been asleep.
peering through the dirty windows, i see that we are in Glenrothes and almost at the bus station.
the lady leans across the aisle and places her knotted hand over mine and says:
“thank you for being my Girl Friday!”
i smile to her.
“Friday girls, i have found to be, are affectionate and caring; you are social creatures – and creative souls. i bet you are creative? i can tell by your hands… guitarist – i can tell by your nails; writer? i bet you like pen and paper too – i can see you have a callous, middle finger, right hand… you are right-handed, aren’t you? or maybe both? you are seductive – i can see that in your eyes… i bet you are a sensual lover – you have sex in your eyes…”
i wanted to speak with her some more, about her project… her book. but, before i could comment or reply, she promptly gets up out of her seat, throws her back over her shoulder and exits the bus – leaving my head spinning with questions…
[bemused and bewildered… now would have been a good time to have taken my photograph… ]
(c) Kat McDonald 2016