Friday, 21 October 2011

no baby

There is a pushchair parked in the wheelchair space, but there is no baby in it. Instead it is piled with bags of junk. In a plastic carrier is a yellow plastic truck with blue wheels. A child's pink backpack hangs from the handles but most of the space is taken up with a bursting bin liner. Out of the top protrudes one of those CD racks that looks like a huge metal toast rack. From another bag pokes the leg of what might be a bamboo stool or maybe a small table. The woman looks at first as if she has dreadlocks, but in fact her hair is just very tight tangled curls. She gets up from her seat abruptly and goes up the stairs. We can hear her having a conversation, perhaps on the phone, asking someone to come and meet her from the bus. She comes back down and tries to strike up a conversation with a woman she appears to know. The woman acknowledges her momentarily then turns her attention back to her newspaper. She seems embarrassed that the attention focussed on the woman is reflecting on her too. The woman with the curls keeps chatting, oblivious to the fact that the other woman is ignoring her. She shifts her laden pushchair out into the aisle and the driver tells her off. She makes a fuss about moving it out of the way and starts a loud diatribe against Manchester buses and announces she is going to London. I hear someone towards the back tut dramatically, as if they have heard it before. She makes preparations to get off, standing in the way of other people for several stops, repeatedly telling the driver that she wants the next one. The bus brakes and her pushchair rolls down the bus, crashing into the door. As she rescues it she continues all the while her conversation with the unresponsive woman, who appears to slump with relief when she finally disembarks. As we pull away an elderly lady with neat maroon gloves asks the woman with the newspaper, "Does she have anyone?"

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