2 Replies to “5.10.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. She catches the ten past six bus from the town centre where she works. She is not alone in that. There are others that I recognize and only a few that I do not. I know her by her hair at first, glossy dark and the colour of a horse I once rode. And she turns, as though she is called, and I see her looking tired, and she clutches at her shoulder bag as though it holds something more than an almost empty purse, and a diary that has her few appointments recorded, written in pencil in case they change.

    Her name is Trudy and she brushes her hair behind one ear with a movement of her fingers that is like a fine musician playing a stringed instrument. And I know precisely when she will do this, not simply because I can judge the point at which her hair, fallen across her cheek and her eye, will occasion the need for such a movement, but because she does it at precisely nine minutes past six every day. I noticed this by chance, from the clock that is on the front of the church opposite. Then I came to expect it.

    If the bus is late, which it is from time to time, then she looks pale and a little anxious, as though she is suddenly in a strange place and lost. She checks her watch against the clock and checks it again. I want to reassure her that it will be ok, but I don’t talk to her yet. I know her name is Trudy for it is the name on her badge that she wears: Trudy Fankel, Reception.

    On the bus she always stands, and she stands in the same place, and her view out of the window is the same. Once, a gentleman offered her his seat and she declined with barely a smile and with only the shake of her head. At precisely sixteen minutes past six she examines her phone for messages. Only once in three years has she had one at that time.

    She gets off the bus a stop earlier than she needs to. She walks forty six steps to a small shop where she buys a newspaper and milk and two bread rolls. She hands over the precise money and she says something to the man behind the counter, something about the weather, or the time, or the lateness of the bus if it has been late.

    Then she walks two hundred and sixteen or two hundred and seventeen steps to her front door. I count them some days and the variation is so small or no variation at all. She opens a window once she is in her apartment, and she puts on music, the 1956 vinyl recording of Beecham’s conducting of La Bohème. I never hear her singing or humming along with the music, but I know that she dances, not only from the movement of the curtains which betrays the movement of the air inside, but because I watch her some evenings, from the roof of the building opposite. She dances and it is like no dance I have ever seen before.

    When the street lights come on and Mimi dies, she falls into a soft cushioned armchair and she weeps. It is precisely eleven minutes after nine, unless the earlier bus has been delayed. She rests for seventeen minutes and then gets to her feet again and prepares something to eat.

    It is maybe odd that I know her so well and that I have such a close understanding of every part of her, but it is only the evening that I have. I would have talked to her before now, except that I do not see a space in her evening for me. And watching her dance is the best part of any day and I am her only audience and so I allow myself to think that she dances just for me and I do not ever want to give that up.

  2. I realise that I have not left enough time for the full playing of La Boheme… so when Trudi falls into her seat to rest it should be twenty-nine minutes past nine. It is a small error.

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