Unlimited travel, freedom printed on my West Midlands Travel pass. Buses, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Trains too! No more planning my journeys by cost or parental good will. No-one I knew could afford a car. Riding Double Decker buses above the driver with views across the city and into first-floor rooms of street lining houses. Everything is on show through those windows: loneliness; lovemaking; waiting; TV watching; eating; arguments; cats watching me watching them.
Sunday riding the “outer circle”, route 11. A circle by name, squished octagonal by map, and voluptuous curvacious rolling ride by road. Either way if you keep going long enough you end up right back where you started. The route is strewn with churches, graveyards, suburbs, slums, shopping streets, industrial ‘parks’ and other passengers. A couple made love on the back seat of the upper deck. When they noticed me noticing them we all giggled. I respected their location choice because its warm, dry, relatively private, and best of all it lacks the scent of rotting mice …
Commuters reading books. A lady explains to her phone how to treat dry skin then takes its advice on using a tea-bag to treat a sore eye. Everyone looked busy, except me. Passengers in another part of Seattle could make a very different impression. I wanted to ride the buses ’til the sun had long set and the buses carried me home, tired and sated. But
My stop. Temporarily mislaid freedom.