The bus is packed. Every inch of space is taken up, to the point where I’m sure just one more body would make everyone burst out the windows like when a balloon gets too much air.
People are jostling for a good position, trying to move me further into the throng and away from my prime space by the door. My knuckles are white as I try with all my might to keep a grip on the pole beside me.
The bus stops and more people crowd on, with few getting off. At the end of the day, most of the people are trying to get out of the city and back home. Just a few more stops.
The press of bodies gets tighter and my hand is numb and sweaty. It’s slipping.
Slipped. I fall backwards into the sea of sweat and disgruntled passengers. Falling, falling until my butt meets the floor of the bus. No one seems to notice and my spot is stolen by some gross fat man in a suit. The swarm closes in on me, feet stepping on my skirt and hands as I struggle to stand up again.
I missed my stop. The bus continues on, oblivious to my plight. The stink of body odour and dirty footwear combined with somebody’s cheap cologne and some fruity gum is nauseating.
Suddenly, I can breathe again. A hand reaches down to help me stand and I come face to face with an angel.
“A lovely lady such as yourself shouldn’t be on the floor. What troubles you, my dear?”
“I missed my stop. I-I’ll be late.”
The angel smiles. He gets the bus driver’s attention and the tightly packed vehicle comes to a stop.
Gratefully, I rush off that can of human sardines. I’m on a bridge. The lights of cars flash by me in the fading wet twilight.
When I finally reach home, everything seems dark. The door of my apartment creaks an ominous welcome to me as its maw opens to the empty lifelessness within.
Outside my window, a cat meows, crying for food. Every night like clockwork. I open the window to let the poor thing inside. The frame catches and I can’t close it.
I climb out the window. The wind is cold. So is the railing. Looking down, all that’s there is a flickering streetlamp and some old homeless man looking for shelter.
I put my feet over the railing, first one, then the other. My body follows after and I’m left standing over the edge of a dark abyss. It starts to rain. I hate the rain.
Just as I’m about to step into the void, a voice reaches me. A memory. That angel said something to me before I got off the bus. “Live happily.”
How foolish am I?