It was one of those not-quite-autumn days. One of her favourite kind of days. One of those days where it was still warm enough to throw on just a dress and a jacket and not be cold, but where the sun was already low in the sky by the time she caught the 16:41 bus home. This setting sun casting a strangely warm and cold light over everything simultaneously.
She knew the route off by heart now and knew every overhanging branch that would be hit as the bus carved its way through the streets. She loved these journeys as a rare 20 minutes or so to let her mind wander and daydream and recap the events of the past few days and weeks. Approaching the pub on the corner by the traffic lights, she was reminded of the cosy roast enjoyed with two of a short but deeply loved list of the most comforting people she knew. ‘Those’ traffic lights and ‘that’ pub are known purely by these vague descriptors between her and the people around her, but whether approached from the main city through road, or the quieter avenue of trees shielding the primary schools, they are always understood. Those traffic lights have a frustratingly long sequence and so she can always guarantee a few minutes of stillness.
She’d managed to get a seat on the top deck, next to the window – not at the front, but it was good enough. She had her go-to playlist plugged into her ears, blocking out the real world. The perfect conditions for daydreaming.
Maybe the windows had just been cleaned, maybe she had never really looked that hard before, maybe there was just something in the air. The more she studied the intricately wrinkled branches and delicately perfect leaves, the more she became convinced that there was nothing that separated herself from them. There was no glass, no window, no bus. The more she became convinced that it would be the easiest thing in the world for her to reach out and run the waxy greenery through her fingers, the less familiar the waxy greenery looked. The longer she lingered in that stillness, the closer the gnarled tendrils crept towards her. With no protective glass between her and them, it vaguely occurred to her that she should have been more concerned about this than she was, but their slow and steady exploration, like a sped-up time lapse of their growth, was far too mesmerising to tear herself away from. Like the bus and its passengers that surrounded her moments ago, she could no longer say whether or not there was even any music being piped into her ears.
Instead, all she was aware of was an ominous, overwhelming, eerie creaking. Presumably, the continuously creeping tendrils were the source of this sound, but having no recollection of when it started, nor any way of identifying its source, this was all just speculation. A mixture of the unusual happenings persuaded her to abandon all sense of logic and she began to raise her hand towards the unfamiliar familiar. She welcomed the greenery and asked it to intertwine its fingers with her own.
The lights turn green. The traffic races to make it through this sequence. She forgets the details of her daydream but quickly drops her inexplicably outstretched hand into her lap. She will try and relive this small, private adventure tomorrow.