Rena May Hough
BUS STOP FLASHBACK
I was standing at the bus stop, waiting on Big Red No1.
My toddler sitting on my feet, sucking on a lollipop,
clutching another in her hand and staring, with big eyes wondering, at two men.
They were hunches down, in the other corner of the shelter, sharing a rollie between them.
One, in an old suit, watching his mate intently.
“Time to move out mate” he said, passing the rollie over.
The man in a near new track suit, took the rollie in trembling hand,
shoving it in his mouth, and his eyes flickering everywhere.
Big Red No1, came around the corner,
screeched – whooshed – before it stopped,
Track Suit Man, dive rolled under shelter seat, screaming,
“ 3 o’clock – Charlie – 3 o’clock!!”
Old Suit Man, scrambled back to back with his mate,
calling “I got you covered… I got you covered!!”
People scattered, women hurried children onto the bus,
men scowled, one man shock his head, muttering,
“Bloody psycho, should be locked up; what’s this country coming to!!!”
Big Red No1 pulled out. Bus stop was clear.
Except for me, still standing there, my toddler still sitting on my feet,
lollipop in mouth forgotten, the other clutched to her chest,
staring, with bigger eyes wondering, at the two men.
Old Suit Man, caught her with his sweeping eyes.
He flicked his eyes to mine. His question and mine,
meet silently, eye to eye. A flicker of warm and his eyes, return to her.
She remembers the lollipop in her mouth, starts sucking.
Old Suit Man, coached his mate out from under the seat.
Coaching with “All Clear mate, not far to go, let’s move out,
all clear mate, let’s move out.”
Track Suit Man stood, hunched, hands gripping elbows,
shaking so strong, Old Suit Man was trembling too,
as he had one arm wrapped around his mate.
Eyes flickering wildly, Track Suit Man caught my toddler in a stare.
She stares back, lollipop forgotten a moment, then begins to suck
Moments pass. Both of them just looking at each other – quiet.
He breathing raggedly, she sucking slowly.
She grins. She reaches out her hand, offering her lollipop to him.
With a nod from me, Old Suit Man accepts it, unwraps it,
and presses it in Track Suit Man’s mouth. He savours it a while.
Nods to his mate and says, “Yeap, that ought to fix it!”
With a salute from each, to toddler sitting on my feet,
and a nod to me, they walk off, joking about what else a red lollipop could fix.
I deeply regret, I did not ask your names.
©Copyright July 2002 by Rena May Hough