Waiting In The Snow
Who would have believed just how far virtual strangers can thaw out in the course of a chilly bus journey to work?
A broken-down car is a blessing in disguise
It is the middle of January and snowing, and my car has died on me. So in a bad mood, I have to travel to work by bus. Donning thick coat, scarf, gloves and boots, I leave my flat feeling totally disagreeable, holding up my umbrella, ready to catch the silent pouring snow.
The postman smiles at me and then the elderly man next door waves from behind his window. I smile back, beginning to enjoy my walk to the bus stop, even though I have had to leave a good thirty minutes earlier than usual.
The birds are singing, and I grin as I see two grey squirrels clamber along the fence next door. I realise that, jumping into my car, I never see these everyday sights or enjoy the burst of cold air on my skin.
It is surprising just how many people travel by bus. Here is the girl from across the road, and two men in smart suits, each holding an umbrella. I stand behind a young woman with a toddler in tow.
I start gazing around and stop when I spy a young man, wearing an anorak over a smart suit, who has sidled alongside me. He smiles. “It’s Angie, isn’t it?” he asks. I nod. Who is he? He has a clear, honest look about him. I feel sure if we had met, I should have remembered him.
“Sorry to hear about you and Dave. Went abroad, didn’t he?”
Again I nod. Maybe he is one of Dave’s cronies, and I jolt slightly as a sharp stab of pain pierces my heart. I try not to think about Dave, my fiancé, who jilted me just a week before our wedding, to run off with a girl from his work. They went to Canada, leaving me high and dry.
I have sold my wedding dress and decided to remain single. How can I trust anyone now? I had trusted him, and look what happened.
That was six months ago. I haven’t managed to laugh since.
The stranger is speaking again. “Yeah. He always was a selfish so-and-so.” Our eyes meet and now I smile. He looks so cute with the snow tumbling into his earnest blue eyes and almost covering his dark hair with white streaks.
The bus has arrived and, although I am freezing cold, I am sorry as I want to know more about this young man.
Maybe not all guys are like Dave. Maybe I can like another man again, one day. Yet my heart yells, no–be careful,beverycareful.
“Nice to see you,” he calls out, smiling as I board the bus. It would appear going to work by bus is just a queue of smiles. That never happens to a car driver.
I sit down next to the girl who lives opposite and we begin a conversation – our very first, in fact. “Innit cold.” No smile on her face. “Off to school then?” I am adjusting my clothes in the seat beside her.
“No, I’m at work now.” A broad smile covers her face. “I got a job at the new deli in the High Street, and I absolutely love it.” She is beaming and her pinched little face is transformed.
WHe looks so CUTE with the snow TUMBLING into his EARNEST blue eyes
hen I finally arrive at my office my heart has lost its numbness and is attempting a small song. What a cheerful morning – and although it is so cold, my insides are as warm as toast.
The day passes much like any other day, and at five pm I wrap up again ready for the journey home. It has stopped snowing, but there are slushy puddles to ontend with.
I trudge down the High Street towards the bus stop and find that I am still smiling, even though I am tired and not relishing a tedious bus journey home.
The bus home is full already, and steamy, and at first I think I’m going to have to stand. Then, suddenly, there is a tap on my shoulder.
“Here, Angie, you take my seat – you look done in.”
It is him, from this morning, and I find I am blushing. He is standing right beside me pointing to an empty seat, which I thankfully drop into. “You don’t remember me, do you?” I blush again. He throws back his head and laughs.
“Well, I’m not surprised. We only met once at your engagement party.” “Yet you’ve remembered me.” “Yeah – I thought to myself, What’sthis pretty girl doing with my selfish, big headed You looked nice–well, you still do look nice.”
“Ah, yes.” I laugh, forgetting my nerves. “Paul. You were the one Dave never liked much.”
Someone has rung the bell and the bus is pulling to a halt. “Oh – I have to get off now.” I sigh. “Me too.” Of course – we boarded at the same bus stop.
“You don’t usually take the bus.” He helps me alight.
“No my car needs to be fixed. It’s going to the garage tomorrow.”
“Well.” He looks at me with that large, honest smile again. “See you tomorrow then – same time, same place.” I laugh, the first time for weeks. “We could have a coffee at lunchtime. I work nearby – seen you a few times from a distance.” He blushes slightly. “Sorry, I’m not trying to stalk you.”
“Yes,” I beam. Well, a cup of coffee with a nice-looking young man can’t do me any harm, can it?
I watch Paul lope across the road and turn left towards my flat. I note the snow has almost disappeared and there is a warm breeze arriving. I realise I haven’t thought about Dave and her all day, and life does move on in time. They can stay forever in Canada for all I care.
Opening the door of my flat, I almost skip indoors. I still can feel that slight pat on my shoulder, and I still might take the bus each morning because it makes me feel as if I am a human being again.
I quickly turn the electric kettle on, and stare out of the kitchen window, grinning. He had been observing me; he must be interested.
And I’d thought no one would ever want me again. Especially not a gorgeous-looking man with twinkling blue eyes and a wide, honest smile.
“Why, it almost feels like summer,” I say to the walls.