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Mothers Day on the Buses

I was sitting on a bus, to the tune of a child screaming its head off. It was doing that thing where they make a loud but low level WaaAaaaAaawaa grizzle, and then suddenly insert a jolting scream, peaking like an electric shock at the point where your head feels like it's going to explode. The first time it did this, I nearly jumped out of my seat. This did not go unnoticed by the lady sitting next to me, who slid me a sidelong gaze, and mumured out of the corner of her mouth:

'That child has been crying for the last 20 minutes.'

I hadn't been on the bus that long, and was considering getting off to avoid the noise. Still, she clearly required an answer so I said. "20 minutes - really?'
'20 minutes. Since the bus stop outside Woolwich.'

We were silent a while. Then she started talking again. Due to the travel carnage around London Bridge, she was running late for a BBQ being put together by her sons for Mother's Day. While she appreciated the thought, she confessed that a nice film on the telly accompanied by a G+T would have suited her better. The screamer put in a particularly high voltage roar that would make nails down a blackboard sound like a soothing lullaby.

'Two G+T's,' She amended.

We talked for a while, until I noticed that the yelling had stopped. We cautiously looked around. There was no child left on the bus.

'They must have got off at Nightingale Grove,' I observed.

'I just assumed she had killed it,' was her rejoinder. Her stop was next, and as she got up I wished her a happy Mother's Day. When she wished me the same, I explained my lack of children. 'Well done.' she said with a grim smile, and stepped down off the bus. I watched her wander away towards gin in the sunset and the BBQ she didn't want. And for a moment, just a fleeting second, considered what she might prefer under the grill.



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