The next bus stop is closed

36. 10.30pm. Bottom deck, behind the back doors. Rainwater all over the floor.

A voice filled the bus: ‘Oh fucking hell, why is it not stopping??’

We spun our heads around, scandalised. The man was dressed in a black overcoat, hat and glasses, and was certainly over sixty years old. He teetered towards the back doors, his face crumpling and folding with rage.

He carried a walking stick. When we saw that, our shock turned to sympathy. Because the bus stop he wanted was closed, this man would have to walk much further in the torrential rain.

He stood at the back doors for a full minute before the bus finally pulled up at a dark, unsheltered stop. We watched him. He didn’t say anything else. He didn’t make eye contact with us. He could feel our gaze, and I think that the pity in it may have hurt him more than his leg.


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