Blesok no. 49, July-August, 2006
Prose


Bus

Eduard Pranger


(Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19)

    From the mosk to the bus stop takes ten minutes of easy walk. Bus stop was crowded as usual in that time of the day. I could, by the faces of the people waiting, tell who was setting off to work and who was on the way home after a nightshift. Sometimes, watching those tired faces amused me. I read somewhere long ago, that by careful observation you can pretty accurately guess what people do. What is their occupation? That, while waiting for the bus, was my favourite game.
    There were around ten people waiting on the bus stop, most of them women. Two teenage girls were looking at the handsome young man standing near by. They were giggling loudly and whispering while staring in his direction. He was obviously aware of the attention, but being few years older, he arrogantly pretended not to notice them.
    It was a start of the ancient game of seduction, which will be countlessly repeated in future by the girls and the young man. Call of nature in practice, I’d say. Standing next to them was an older gentleman in a dark suit holding a walking stick. Late sixties, greying hair, he looked as if his Rolls Royce has just broken down and he was forced to use the public transport. The expression of disgust on his face was intensifying by the immature behaviour of the two teenagers. He kept looking at his watch, adjusting his bow tie and leaning to look in the direction of the expected bus. Banker, I reckoned. Little further away a young woman, her hands full of carrier bags, was struggling with two five, six, year old girls.
    They were trying to get out of her grasp but she held on to them tight.
    The bus was not coming and they were getting loud and restless. Powerless, she was politely and patiently in a low voice, telling them to calm down.
    Leaning on the railings a young couple was kissing and embracing, oblivious to everything. Lost in time and space they did not care for the crowd or the wait. I had a feeling they will miss the next and several subsequent busses.
    Not even a meter from me, two young guys dressed in army cadets uniforms, were talking about holidays, making plans to spend the summer with their girlfriends, on the coast somewhere. They couldn’t decide between Ibiza and south of Italy as each had their arguments, for and against. Two older ladies next to them were seemingly talking, but actually, very carefully following the conversation between the two cadets. And when the young men in uniforms went on to describe last years summer nights adventures, including the fruity details, the ladies have visibly pricked up their ears. They were glancing at each other, frowning in disapproval, but I somehow knew that deep inside they were remembering their own youth. Once they were young and beautiful.
    And they were protesting about the damned old age that snuck upon them so unjustly, so fast.
    The sky in the mean time turned cloudy. I looked at my watch. Bus No30 was 4 minutes late. It started to rain. Drizzling at first, than heavier. People around me opened their umbrellas. A touch on my shoulder startles me. I turned around and saw two beautiful dark eyes.
    – It’s big enough for both of us – girl with a long black hair, stood in front of me holding an open umbrella. She looked familiar.
    – I know you from somewhere… – I said unsure.
    – Amina. From Uni. I’m on sociology as well. We were on the same course last year. Sociology of religion, remember?
    – Oh, yeah. Yes… I remember now. You live around here?
    – No I’ve been at a friend’s house. We are doing some college work together. And you?
    – I live just here, behind Harrods – I said.
    I was gazing in her eyes. They had the look that hides nothing, honest and innocent.
    I looked at my watch again. She noticed my restlessness.
    – The bus will be here any minute now… few drops of rain and the whole town go to a standstill – she said just to say something.
    – Yes – I said – you going to Uni now?
    – No. I’m going home. I don’t have a lecture on Thursday.
    – Lucky you.
    We stood in the rain in silence. The bus was more than ten minutes late and I was beginning to think it wouldn’t come at all. Suddenly there was a movement in the crowd. Some have closed their umbrellas and were moving toward the front. That was a sign that bus was in sight. Amina closed her umbrella too. The bus has stopped and the double front doors opened with a hiss.
    The bus was already overcrowded. The gentleman in a suit went in first, followed by the mother with kids. Cadets have kindly let the ladies and several other people go first, and I have, gallantly, with a smile helped Amina to get on. I got in last. As I presumed, the kissing couple stayed on the bus stop. They were happy and in love, alone in the world.
    Inside was humid, with no air. It stunk of wet clothes and umbrellas. From somewhere through the crowd Amina appears.
    – Listen, if we don’t see each other, here’s my number. Ring me sometimes, ok? – She hands me the piece of paper with her number and her eyes asking.
    – Sure, I’ll be glad. See you – I looked at my watch: 9.46. At that moment, I don’t know why, I thought of my mother who was now somewhere far away. She gave me that watch before I left to University and I know she paid a lot for it.
    I reached in my pocket and felt a small device. I pushed through the crowd of angry faces to the middle of the bus, on top deck.
    – God, I deliver my soul into your hands! Allahu Akbar! – I scream and I press the button on a detonator.




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