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?

My Weekly - - Contents - By Linda Hur­d­well

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.

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