Musings on the bus

They observe,
from the sidelines
behind human boundaries
mutely.

Ghosts of past,
felled by hunters,
now shed skins, peeling,
naturally.

Wheels pass by,
not unlike time,
in twos, threes, and sixes—
boundless.

Fiercely defiant,
owners of the land,
masked in ashen white—
eucalypti.


Note: Eucalypus, or gum trees, are beautiful trees to stare at and they’re endemic to south-eastern Australia where I now live.

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Despite all,

Scaled,
stepped on,
pricked and poked,
scabbed, stared at, 
gawked, and pointed at,
studied, zoomed in on, 
zoomed out—
traced and outlined,
measure… for measure…
muddied, set animals on,
and mulled over
fantasised with, 
fascinated by,
pictured, framed, and famed,
reflected on, projected as,
even protective of—

Moon,
unperturbed shines.

Handmade jewellery at a shop in Melbourne

Modern society

Beauty in necklace—
intolerable in streets—
multi-colour skins.


Photo: From an interesting shop called Eclectico in Melbourne. They sell a range of jewellery, handicrafts, and attire from Mexico, Peru, Spain, Brazil and south east Asia. Great place to look around while waiting for the next tram.

Stories

Lights flickered. Like a butterfly out of a cocoon, fluttering gingerly, like a new born testing their blurry vision, in a soft, delicate motion the street lights flickered, and with it ran a shiver down Anya’s spine. It was a warm spring night, and the little hand of her wristwatch crept towards twelve, mere minutes away.

A pin drop would’ve thundered. So quiet was the street, the last car having wizzed past the bus stop, where she now stood, over an hour ago. A dreary downside to living in a small town of a few thousand. In the dim yellow glow of the street light, Anya shuffled closer to the pole, looking up again to check if her bus would stop there. It would.

She looked at the watch. A knot churned in her belly, tightening with every breath, twisting her empty stomach. Perhaps the last bus was long gone? A warm breeze slapped her face, as if reminding she still had a phone, dying almost, subsisting still. Twenty percent—a lifeline—should be enough to phone a friend. If only she had one. Damn, being a new migrant was hard.

The knot snaked towards her throat.

Just then, she saw in the distance, two headlights heading her way. As hot scoop running down frozen ice cream, tender warmth washed through her. Finally. Safety.

As the bus jerked to a halt, she gasped in glee. A large pair of sunglasses sat on the driver’s shiny head, and he nodded in solemn silence to her toothy grin. No bald bus driver had ever seemed so welcoming.

Snuggled in bed, thirty minutes later, she mused letting the soothing gin drip down her throat. The world didn’t lack stories of terrifying experiences. It lacked good stories of friendly bus drivers.

“My inspiration?” Sitting cross-legged on a raised dias, Anya smiled at her interviewer, having just received an award for her bestselling novel. “Real life.”

Closure

“You can’t avoid it forever,”

Simon’s voice thundered in her head. Of course he was right. She couldn’t run away from it anymore. Fifteen years was as long as she could go.

She weighed her options. Michael wasn’t far away. One knock on her neighbour’s door, and there he’d be, visiting his daughter and ex-wife. Andrea swallowed the bitterness gripping her throat, contemplating telling him. At last. After all these years. Now that she considered, it seemed trivial even. Why would he care how he’d made her feel all those years ago?

Oh—wait.

What?

She snapped at her inner voice.

How he made you feel? Are you even listening to what you’re thinking?

Yes.

Silence.

Was it a bad idea, perhaps…?

The front door opened and Michael caught her staring right at him. Andrea jumped, as though struck by lightening, and dropped her eyes to her basil bud instead.

“Howdy neighbour!” His voice floated through, bringing with it a warm breeze kissing the spring blossoms that’d risen between them. She looked over their eager, upturned heads, smiling, pulling on years of practice pretending nothing had happened. She waved back.

He drove away in his red jeep. A decent upgrade from the second-hand Toyota he’d driven when they were in school together. He’d grown up, moved on.

She hadn’t.

“You can’t avoid it forever.”

She’d felt Simon even before his voice came from behind her. She turned, wearing her mask of disinterest.

Who was she kidding? Simon was her high school sweetheart—he knew her better than anyone, herself included.

“Andrea, don’t let the past ruin your future. You need to get past it—just tell Michael what an asshole he was in your trivia club.”