Sitting on a bus, I watch the streets dribble past as two women behind me discuss how they refuse to vaccinate their children because they don’t want them to end up retarded. When they talk about refusing the flu jab – because they’ve never had the flu – I reach up and open the window, letting in a blast of cold winter air. The conversation stops, I feel their white hot glares on my neck, and they begin to mumble and clap their hands together. It stays open.
The elderly man in the tartan cap is staring into the window, but I can see he’s looking at the reflection of a businesswoman in a too-tight pencil skirt. She stares into her phone, sometimes doing her make-up in the screen. The dirty old bastard clutches the seat in front of him and gently squeezes the headrest, lost in his reverie.
The bus judders to a halt and a young couple get on. He’s an exquisite boy, and she is not bad either, all pink dreadlocks and piercings. They start to make out in their seat a few rows from me. She accepts at first, but then becomes bored. As I look at their strange mating ritual of needy acceptance and aloof indifference, the girl catches my eye. I look away embarrassed. When I turn back, she’s still staring straight at me, rolling her eyes and planting her tongue in her cheek as he buries his head in her neck and nuzzles her collarbone.