Ever wondered what people are thinking whilst waiting for public transport?
Sunday 16 January, 2011
Winter was a hellish time to be waiting at the bus stop, but public transport was the only way that Mona Andrews could afford to get around. Her auburn hair buffeted by the brutal wind, flicked and stung her face. She tried to tuck it back behind her ear, to no avail. She swore that one day soon she’d have it cut short again.
She swore a lot of things would happen one day soon, but none of them ever did. She supposed that was because she simply couldn’t be bothered going through with them, much like the New Year’s resolutions that she made every year. Mona tried to think back to a time when she could be bothered. She smiled wearily when she realised that she couldn’t think of any time when she felt invigorated and enthusiastic. No, Mona Andrews, plain and simple, had always been a woman of least resistance.
He wondered why she would not sit next to him on the bench. He was well dressed. He looked respectable. For the last four years they had met every morning, at the same time, at this very bus stop, and not once had they spoken. Maybe, the voice in his head said, maybe she’s mute . . . or deaf? What other reason could she have for not speaking to me? He sneered in her general direction. She did not see.
‘Why don’t you ever sit down next to me?’ he asked her, his voice barely audible above the gust of wind that powered past.
She was startled by his voice, and quickly turned in his direction.
‘I asked you why you don’t sit down, on this bench, next to me while you’re waiting for the bus? Are you so incredibly rude that you can’t answer a simple question?’
Mona didn’t know what to say. She did not have a reason for not sitting next to him. She just didn’t. It wasn’t like it was a premeditated action. She never sat down at any bus stop.
‘I prefer to stand at bus stops,’ she said.
He stared at her, eyeing her up and down.
‘Do you have a problem with me standing?’ she asked in return.
His brow furrowed as he considered her question. What could he say? He shook his head quickly, and threw his gaze to the ground. The voice in his head grew louder. You fool, she’s mocking you. She thinks you’re stupid. She’s treating you like a fool. Are you a fucking fool, Hank? Of course you are, if you let her talk to you like that. Do something about it, Hank. Show her who’s boss.
Hank Henderson slowly placed the briefcase that he had been holding on the bench next to him. Now, even if she wanted to sit down, she couldn’t. She’d have to ask him to move his briefcase. He wouldn’t oblige her. She could remain standing now. He smiled to himself.
Come on, Hank. That’s the best you’ve got? You put your briefcase on the fucking bench? You’re a fucking idiot. DO something about it.
He rose. Stepped behind her. She couldn’t hear, not with the wind that strong, and her back to him. He looked around. At six thirty a.m. on Tuesdays the bus stop was always deserted – aside from himself, and the red head. He stepped a little bit closer. Close enough to smell the Calvin Klein perfume she had drowned herself in. His timing was immaculate. With pinpoint accuracy, Hank Henderson could always predict when the bus would come down the street.
She was so oblivious to him, that she had no idea he was standing that close behind her. Not until she felt the hands in the middle of her back, and the forward motion of her body into the path of the oncoming bus. Hank had timed it to perfection.
The bus driver had no time to apply the brakes. Mona Andrews landed some fifteen or sixteen metres away from the bus stop.
When the driver finally brought the bus to a stop, he opened the doors, got out and sprinted to check the woman he’d just hit. Hank Henderson simply boarded the bus and sat in his regular seat, three rows from the back, a crooked smile spreading across his face.