Bus stories: She’s got Corey Haim hair

I got off first.

There’s a woman with Corey Haim hair on the 68.
Lost Boys hair.
Hair that’s brushed up to the sun.
Listening to headphones covered in foam. I look for signs of a Walkman. (This is London.)

Leather jacket.
I imagine a wacky shirt and garlic necklace underneath.
A burst of back and forth head nodding, then a left to right ‘nuh-uh muthafucka’ shake.
She’s sat at the front, looking out the window, owning the world.

I wonder if she likes comics.


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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.

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Bus stories: A girl on the 63

She got off at St George’s Circus.

A girl on the 63 is sitting directly in front of me.
Split ends.
2 little bumps high up on her right cheekbone.
Unblended cream blusher. Pinky blue.
Clumpy mascara on uncurled lashes.
Ear pierced twice.
Dogtooth coat.
Tights in August.

No headphones.
She just looks out the window.
I track her gaze as it rises and falls.
And I love her.

The bells da-ding-dings.
I watch her as she goes, clinging to the yellow rail at the top of the stairs.
Her orangey-red nail polish has flaked away but looks right. Essie’s Fifth Avenue?
She’s clomping on the descent and I wonder about her shoes.
I look down to see her step out onto the street
but she turns the other way and
I can’t see her shoes.

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