Under The Bus Shelter

Each droplet cascaded down his face, the rain failed to stop for two days, the only difference about today was that the clouds had descended to join in on the game the rain had already started. He couldn’t see. The fog had taken his sight and the rain had physically trapped him under a bus shelter. The street lights did next to nothing on creating a sort of path for citizens to follow, the weather had control of everything and everybody. This was recorded to be the worst day in the year, but he knew that the weather wasn’t the reason this day was the worst – it was the earlier events. He looked down at his jacket that was completely soaked, ‘Superdry my ass.’ He’d spent good hard earned money on that coat, which did nothing other than invite the rain and keep him wet, rather than keeping him dry. The irony he thought, Superdry insinuated that anyone wearing it should remain dry, but here he stands, his shirt underneath his jacket soaked, and his face and hair drenched.
He knew he had to keep moving, there was no point staying under the bus shelter, the weather wasn’t going to ease up, according to the weather man, who finally was right about the weather. He looked to his left and to his right, not like he could see anything, but just to make sure where he wanted to walk was clear, as he was planning on sprinting home.

 

She dashed under the bus shelter and took a loud exasperating sigh. She’d jinxed herself, nobody told her to utter those fours forbidden words, ‘What could get worse?’ And here she stood, under the bus shelter, hair soaked and a lousy jacket to protect her from the rain that seemed to continue to pour without anyone’s consent. The fog had her running into multiple people. She’d never had to say ‘sorry’ or ‘excuse me’ so much in her life, until today. She squinted down the road, hoping for a bus, but knew that’d be a slim chance with how the weather was panning out. Her glasses were literally futile now, as drops of rain had blurred her vision. She sighed again, and looked around, noticed many people under the shelter. A elderly woman stood, what seemed to be huddled to the corner, visibly cold and worried, but remaining quiet. She could barely make out the features of the old woman’s face, as the rain destroyed her sight, so she continued to look on. Another woman, of similar age to her, stood looking angry and frustrated. She continuously checked her watch, and looked to the sky as though a plea for God to reduce the rain, or do something for everyone to make it home, but she guessed her pleas were gone unheard. A man nearest to the edge of the shelter stood posed for a dash. He kept watching the sky, the sidewalk and the rain all at once, as though he was weighing up the odds. She chuckled lightly to herself and shook her head, they’d be no way he was getting anywhere far with the way the sky had cried for the past two days. But he clutched onto his hood and seemed to be pumping himself up. She would have loved to watch him try to make it even across the road without turning back, but her glasses had began fogging up again and she didn’t have any dry wear to try to clean her lenses.

 

She thought about her husband at home by himself and tried to control her irrational thoughts. Harold was old and couldn’t move around as freely as he once did, and she knew by now he’d be panicking about her whereabouts. But she was also old and fragile herself and this bloody rain had forced her to remain under this bus shelter, which was steadily getting more packed by the minute. She’d been there for almost twenty minutes now; seen people come and go. Some would make it as far as Bennie’s sweet shop and return back to the shelter, where others, those she referred to as the bravest of them all, would manage the rain and continue on with their journey. She wished she were like them.
She had a husband who would be worrying himself sick if she didn’t return soon and she didn’t want to imagine him stepping out to look for her. She’d only said she’d be doing some food shopping and wouldn’t be long. And ever since his accident, he’d been glued to the TV, so when she told him she was going he was very adamant that she stays indoors because the weatherman claimed today’s weather was going to be a whole lot worse than yesterday. But she didn’t believe Harold or the weatherman. And now here she stood, clasping her bag and hoping the weather would slow down for just a few minutes so she could get home. The buses seemed to not be in service due to bad weather and cars had slowly stopped driving passed her, which only meant the roads were too dangerous for vehicles to be running. She sighed again and looked at the sky, praying Harold had patience and would wait for her at home.

 

That’s it, this is definitely the worst birthday ever.’ She thought to herself after finding a spot under the bus shelter. Her hair appointment was cancelled the day before, so the money she’d brought on her hair (that she’d bragged about for weeks) was wasted, as it wasn’t going to be used for her birthday. The restaurant she called for her boyfriend and herself had somehow lost her reservation number and to make matters worse she was trapped in the rain she fought so hard to dodge. She planned that she’d leave her house extra early to get some food supplies, to make this day somewhat worth celebrating. But some mother at the store had found an issue with every item she brought; making her fifteen-minute shop, turn into a thirty-minute moan.
She looked down at her waterproof Uggs and screamed in her head. They said waterproof, but this rain was on a whole other scale, she wasn’t sure her Ugg boots could withstand this rain, and by the feel of the little tiny wet drops of water tickling her toes, she knew they were damaged. She checked her phone, realising her phone had low battery and stuffed it back in her pocket.
Was this rain trying to symbolise how her new year was going to turn out? Because nothing had gone according to plan, if anything her life seemed to fall apart after hitting the age of twenty-five. She huddled deeper into the bus shelter, feeling stray rain droplets caress her face. As she moved back, a man ran passed her crunching her foot and further damaging her boots. She looked down in horror to find a black, wet footprint across the front of her beige boots and felt the urge to scream. She looked up to see if she could catch the man, but he was gone. She was about to stare at her boots again, feeling the need to cry her day away, when an old lady caught her eye and gave her an unapologetic smile. ‘Today couldn’t get any worse.’

 

He couldn’t contain his audible laugh. Everyone had given him funny looks earlier on in the day, questioning his attire. Looking at his wellington boots and umbrella and chuckling to themselves, as he seemed to look overdressed for the rain that was only spitting at that time. But look who prevailed! Yes it was raining and heavily too, but he was prepared and now watching a man sprint from the bus shelter to his next destination and observing the many people camping under the bus shelter, had him laughing. Nothing was going to stop him, not this rain and definitely not the judgmental stares he was receiving as he walked passed everyone.
He wanted to shout, ‘you should have been more prepared!’ but he wasn’t that much of a dick. So he watched them all bunch together like an awkward extended family meeting and laughed some more. Today hadn’t been the best day for him. Money was tight and the rent was coming round fast again. He tried to get a second job – but with his attire he hadn’t managed to impress anyone enough for a handshake and hopeful words. But the sight he was seeing had definitely brightened up his day.
A woman stood looking at her ruined boots, another kept constantly wiping her glasses, a man kept searching for a bus that was never coming and an elderly lady watched the sky. And there he stood, opposite them as dry as he could possibly be, under a sturdy umbrella that wouldn’t flip inside out against a strong passing of the wind, in a raincoat that didn’t keep him warm, but did keep him dry and in boots that fought hard against the rain. He shook his head and continued with his journey home. ‘Should have come more prepared.’ He thought.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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