The sluggish reminder of dawn peered through my heavy eyelids and I had no choice but to wake up. I rolled over towards the left side of my bed, feeling around for a phone and sure enough it made a loud beeping noise, twice, indicating the battery was low. I looked at the time, it was exactly 15 minutes until my alarm would go off.
…my screen read. I closed my eyes and waited for the alarm to go off.
I woke again but this time to the loud alarm ringtone and managed to swipe the screen to shut it off. A moment later I was hurriedly removing last night’s clothes, unstrapping my bra that had etched its way into my skin. I plugged my phone into the charger.
The empty battery icon was soon filled with a white zig zag.
The shower. That’s all I required in that moment. The knob, that’s all I turned in that second, awkwardly reaching over for the shower head, minding my step in fear of slipping and pointed it towards the tiled wall. The humming vent, the ticking clock, a faint reminder of how monotonous and glum my shift would be and tried to focus on something else; a feeling, a thought.
I glanced at the turquoise, plastic clock that was propped up in the corner of the bathroom. The time was wrong but I made sense of the 20 minutes that had passed.
I made an exit for the bathroom.
Dressed for work, I wandered into the living room.The leather sofa was distressed by the weight of my bag. I sat on the arm rest. I peered at my phone.
I adjusted my handbag against my shoulder, switched off the corridor lights and quietly closed the front door behind me. The street lights were not working on my street and the sky was a dark blue colour but clear, I could see Orion’s Belt at an angle, sitting perfectly in it’s usual position. I paused to struggle with my headphones and then soon continued to walk to the bus stop. The journey was longer today as the buses were on diversion. Standing at the temporary bus stop, I gazed at the storage building opposite me, the same woman was switching off a desktop on the third floor, I could see her through the window. I saw her occasionally around this time. This time another man had accompanied her, both their attentions focused on the first draw of the desk. I assumed they were night staff and glanced towards the traffic lights, hoping for my bus to appear at the bend. Waiting.
A man was singing. I heard it from a distance. I unplugged an earphone to hear more of the singing that seemed to ring into the empty road. My earphone knocked against my breast singularly a couple of times. The man sang while riding his bike and he had noticed me. Soon, the drunk would be parked in front of me. His hair was blowing wildly behind him, long graying dreadlocks. He may have not been a drunk after all. “Look at you!”, he yelled. I stood unmoved, my facial expression remained neutral. He was a good looking man, he looked about 40 but a worn out 42. He rode his bike towards me and stopped. I stared at him. A tall, frail man.
“You are from AFRICA!” he declared. No doubt I thought to myself. Now I was a amused, a smirk had helplessly formed across my face.
“Standing here at the bus stop because you have to go to work!”
He was still shouting at me despite balancing on his bike, inches away from face. I couldn’t make out the next sentence but I do recall him shouting out the word “OIL!”.
He then looked at me with convincing pity.
I can no longer remember his exact words but he was making some sort of speech about how I would be better off in Africa somewhere, phone-less. I didn’t respond, I just listened. He soon sped off down the glistening tarred road with the street lights glaring down on him. I could faintly see the three diagonally positioned stars if I strained my eyes hard enough. I could still see the Iraqi’s crystal blue eyes; wide and dilated. I looked around in search of a person who might have seen our exchange. The lady in the office had long gone, she drove out in a black Mercedes earlier. I didn’t know what class it was. I assumed she was management. No one was present. No one saw this strange event that had occurred. If I re-told the story, would anyone believe me? I waited, still amused. It all happened in a matter of seconds. I turned around, and searched to see if anyone was peering behind their darkened windows but I couldn’t see a soul.
A couple, both wearing jogging bottoms appeared; the girl’s, grey, the guy’s, black. They walked to the bus stop. They were holding hands, I had seen the couple before. They waited at the bus stop with me and another man emerged. Usually he was stood at the bus stop before me but I guess, I had left my house early.
The bus arrived.