Friday morning, the journey today consists of three bus rides. In town I join the group waiting for the bus under the early morning steely blue sky. Turning my back to the penetrating cold damp wind I notice the car lights bouncing off the shimmer of the night's rain on the road.
Our bus arrives and we shuffle on; I slump into one of the vacant places halfway down and as we pull away I feel a reaction in my throat to the overwarm, overdry atmosphere in here. We leave town and the bus accelerates to a resonating rattle then slows and rolls its way over a railway crossing. We increase speed again and cut frightenly close to thin spiny trees that form the edge of the forest here.
In the next village the doors hiss open to imbibe a group of school-bound teenagers. A nervous disproportioned youth sits next to me; tall and thin his enormous feet accentuated in narrow white trainers. His pale face is punctuated with a large red nose. With a mumbled "Ahoj" he starts a converstaion with a bespectacled youth in the seat in front. Nearly full our bus labours up a hill to the last village on our route. Here a mass of small forms swarm onto the bus; each one half child, half school bag. Bright eyed, they chatter excitiedly playing dodgems as they thread their way down the aisle of the bus. We bumble the last mile or two into the town of our destination, soprano and tenor librettos of conversation around me accompanied by bass and baritone coughs from somewhere at the rear of the bus.
At the final stop the bus finally splits open and we spill out. First the highly-charged impatient juniors, followed by the senior pupils, their reluctance the result of experience, and then the adults to take the final bows to the unattentive world.
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