She waits for the bus, her shopping trolley standing to attention at her side, the scuffed tartan material marking times past. She looks old, worn but upright. Head up, shoulders back, there is still some fight in there and she definitely, defiantly, isn’t finished with life just yet. Her face is set straight and stoic, a woman of her time, deep wrinkles betray a life of laughter long gone.
As the leaves kick and hop along the gutter at her feet she pulls her long dark jacket around herself to block the winds sneaky fingers; she never feels warm these days, not properly.
There is still a chill in the air on this dull March morning; long grey clouds scroll overhead and a thin smear of rain softens the morning light, clinging to jackets, dripping from umbrellas. Red traffic lights create a crawling conga of cars as the morning news is delivered through a multitude of differing drones, each voice reflecting the weary sobriety as the world quietly continues its inevitable descent.
Out of the corner of my eye a flash of colour appears, yellow and red, as it zig-zags unevenly along the pavement; a toddler splashing in puddles with unhidden abandon. She launches into the next pool of water with both feet, water still flying as she lands and turns to look at her mother behind her, delight etched wide on her face. Under her hat, golden locks curl and tumble, tiny hands protrude from her coat as she claps them together with glee. A ray of light in hyper-action on this slow, flat morning.
The old lady waiting for the bus turns at the noise, the skin on her neck tightens with the movement as she looks for the source. Her eyes find the young girl, shining and bright on such a drab morning, and in her bus stop she smiles gently. The girl and her mother wander past, searching for the next puddle to explore on their journey.
I sit in my car, cocooned from the world, separated from the dull noise of the morning news by my view, a tiny moment of my day.
I watch as they smile, unknowing. The grey lady and the bright child. I wonder what they are thinking.
The car in front of me moves off and I follow obediently, leaving behind a glimpsed moment and unanswered questions. Such is the pattern of life.