Reality check

68. 9.30pm. Top deck, near the front, on the right.

‘That was my step-change. Sometimes you have to take a step back to know how you feel.’

A middle-aged Scottish woman and a younger woman in a beige coat were discussing something in hushed tones, heads very close together.

‘Do you think she’ll go back there?’ the younger woman said.

‘Hard to say. I think she might be lonely… To be honest, I’ve been there hundreds of times before and I’m just sick of it.’

I wondered what they were talking about. Something very grave, from the sound of their voices. Life? Death?

‘What do you think she’ll -‘

‘The thing is I’m not concerned about the binging in terms of my reality bubble – I mean I am concerned in my little Laura bubble but I’m not in terms of the bigger friendship bubble.’ The Scottish woman adjusted her scarf while I pondered this odd new direction. ‘I’m much more of a tea then go, wine then go, coffee then go…’

‘I think she may take her cue from us,’ said the younger woman. After a thoughtful silence she added, ‘She doesn’t even like drinking!’

‘She fucking HATES IT!’ The Scottish woman cackled.

What on earth were they talking about?

She continued: ‘In my world, men have less fear about it than we do – it’s the whole what-if what-if. And in that visibility…’

‘Oh God…’

‘To be honest it was better than seeing it, if you know what I mean. As it was I cried all the way down.’

In her thick accent this sounded like ‘Ah crayed oll the wee doon.’ I really had no idea what was going on. The windows of the bus began to fog up as London bedded down around us.

‘And they say you have to do it all together, but in reality’ (how many realities did this woman have?) ‘skiing just isn’t a pack sport.’


As I was tuning out, the younger woman said, ‘I knew it was over for me when I’d been dragged down there, it was first thing in the morning, fucking freezing, and I was like “why am I here?”, and then I got hit on the back of my head by the ski-lift.’


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