I immediately wondered why the bus driver could not have waited an extra few seconds for everyone to be seated before perilously manoeuvring the vehicle back onto the road. I held onto the metal pole for dear life, searching for the least suspicious-looking person to sit next to. I needed to make a quick decision because the driver was going to turn left in approximately three seconds and there was a high chance of me losing my balance and being unable to retain my composure. I fell onto the closest seat and greeted my neighbour who proceeded to unapologetically mock the vivacity of my hair. The scent of Calpol and cigarettes lingered on his leather jacket; it must have been a wild night.
Passengers faced the driver as if awaiting his sermon, their conversations circulated the air like a unified hymn. Elderly people were seated in pairs, hair as grey as Gandalf’s. A woman with her face buried into a hat groaned quietly to herself with her carer clutching paperwork and a solemn spirit. Another sang a falsetto into her phone, her partner engrossed in the act of folding his newspaper into a stout bird. The seat in front of them remained vacant and I wondered about its predecessor, who it had been and the things that they'd thought about in their dreams.
A young boy climbed on in a black hoody and hands in his pocket as if channelling his inner-Mr Robot. His face, broody, with skin like the back of a freshly peeled sticker. He watched the glass cloud up with his breath, drew a line through it and then observed the world through his filtered creation. In that moment, we were all one and the driver was our centre of gravity, orbiting other vehicles in a parallel reality.
I wondered how long the memory of these people would remain entrenched in my mind. I wondered whether anyone had noticed me, whether I had even really noticed them. We were contained in a separate dimension; our hearts beating as one, and yet we remained inside this tank of regurgitated oxygen without making eye contact.
How many experiences like this do we encounter on a daily basis? Being confined and yet not revelling in our humanness, not acknowledging the presence of other people. Despite what your mother told you, sometimes it's good to talk to strangers. We are connected, our lives are intertwined, and we all exist as a part of a greater narrative. Sometimes we marginalise those that we do not know and by doing so, we choose to only exist inside the perimeters that we have fabricated for ourselves. Our lives are worthy of more than a stream of nonsensical occurrences, but in order to establish significance, we must create our own meaning and make these moments purposeful.