Bus stories: Purple nails on the 42

She got off just after Aldgate.

What a badass.
She’s got purple nails. Not Prince-purple, a flat lilac.
In her 70s. I think.
Shades. Her silver hair pulled back and it looks so soft.

She stands up as we pass the Tower of London.
I look to see.
She’s watching people plant ceramic poppies in the dry moat.
The bus jolts ahead and she sways, looking out until we pass by.
I wonder if she does pilates.

I don’t see her walking stick until I hear it fall and the guy with Mick Hucknall hair bends to pick it up for her.
A swan’s head. Warm wood.
She smiles and presses the red bell with her thumb.
As she walks off in her flip-flops I search for walking sticks on eBay.