Eden Mustafa was getting the bus to work today. She was getting the bus to work because earlier in the day, her car had been repossessed. Her car had been repossessed because her ex-boyfriend had stopped paying for the car insurance, and her ex-boyfriend had stopped making the payments because Eden had stopped answering his calls.
The bailiffs’ knocks woke her up. She sat up, yesterday’s clothes falling off the quilt onto the floor, and looked out of the window. Two men in black uniforms stood on her doorstep, and behind them, a tow truck was backing into her driveway. She didn’t bother to go down. She didn’t have anything to say and she didn’t have the energy to listen either. She lit a cigarette and watched them pick the car up and drag it away. Some light entertainment before she fell asleep again.
So now she was at the bus stop at 12:45am, waiting for the night bus to drop her off at the station. Two years ago, she would have walked it. Two years ago, she could have even cycled. Two years ago, Kian would have dropped her off and picked her up again when her shift was over. Two years ago seemed like a lifetime ago now.
Across the road from the bus stop, a group of young women was sitting on a wall, eating kebabs. Skimpy outfits, Bedraggled hair, sweat-smeared makeup- Eden wondered where they were coming from. How had they ended up out here? How old were they? They didn’t seem to mind the cold, or the rest of their surroundings for that matter. They chewed and yelled and laughed and spilled things in one fluid movement. Like reflections of each other. Or shadows. One following another, over and over. Like a dance. An effortless, rythmic, life-
Eden almost missed the bus. It came hurtling down the street while she was staring at the girls and she only just put her hand out in time. The bus screeched to a halt. The driver sneered as she got on. Eden fumbled in her pocket pulled out a black wallet and tapped it against the reader.
She tapped it again.
The driver harrumphed. Eden looked down at the wallet. She flipped it open and saw her face staring back at her. It was her police badge, not her oyster card. The driver, who had been about to launch into a rant, saw the badge and calmed. He nodded her through. Eden shoved her badge into the bottom of her bag and took a seat upstairs.