Bus Stops by Tahirah Abdulazeez


He shuffles forward, one foot in front of the other methodically. In front of him a small crowd gathers. They are busy, all of them. Talking, hustling, and being alive in noisy intrusive ways. The sun boils in a stark pitiless sky . It ripens the mid day smells, cooking food mingles with rotting trash nearby and people smells, of fatigue and stress, the biology of struggle and it stains him, clings to him. The world is a hallucinatory haze and the images before him are like spirits, a blur of colours, pink, red and blue;and noise.

He left everything in the car. He parked it somewhere when the phone rang. The phone is in there too.
He has been walking for a while. He imagines the phone is still there ringing. After the first call he leaped out of his car, stunned, nearly maddened. He usually drives everywhere, to show off, he is proud of his collections, the markers of success. His family, his prestige, his wealth. But now he doesn’t trust himself to drive. So he is looking for a bus to take him but it has been decades since he took public transport. He doesn’t know what he is doing. This is the third bus stop he has been to

He asks strangers
“Please, which bus will take me to LASUTH?”
They stare at him with blank expressions. Maybe he isn’t wording it right. Maybe the thickness at the back of his throat muffles his words; maybe it’s his face, his big bearded face wet with tears that silences them. From bus stop to bus stop he has walked. Dazed. Following directions he barely heard or understood. Finally he sits down here. A kind woman said this is the right place.

He looks down at his feet. He thinks about the phone, his car, his life, about Soji and he weeps.


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