Image by Christine Renney
There is a window in the early hours when the bus station is deserted. The rush hour crowd is long gone and it is a chance for the others, for those who don’t leave, to step in from out of the rain and take shelter. It is our turn to wait.
I walk across the forecourt and the turning area directly in front of the station. The lights have dropped to an energy saving low level but I spot the young man instantly. He is standing beside a plate glass screen and beneath one of the ‘Stop’ signs. He shouldn’t be here in his smart suit and shiny black shoes. The first buses won’t arrive for at least four or five hours and he is either incredibly late or extremely early.
The man is jittery and anxious and he stares intently at the timetable attached to the pole. He should move into the waiting area and join the others slumped on the benches and huddled in the corners with their blankets and their dogs and their cans of Special Brew but of course he doesn’t.
I understand it, I feel his fear, it rises in me unbidden, something out of the past that has been buried down deep. It is only a memory but I can taste it again and I want to spit it out and tell the man to fuck off.
He raises his head and just fleetingly our eyes meet and he flinches. I push past him and join the others, letting him be.