She stepped onto the bus. The steps always seemed to be a little higher, a little steeper, a little more effort required as each year of her life passed. She nodded at the driver. His large hands gripped the large steering wheel as he briefly nodded and looked away.
Her head turned to the bus, crowded. She tutted and sucked in her breath, her chest tightening. It was always the same. How could a simple journey be so daunting day in and day out?
She saw an empty seat, inviting. She sat down and pushed her shopping bags beneath the chair. She put her handbag on her lap, instinctively wrapping her arms around it. The bus roared away, the hum of the engine drowning out the noise around her.
The next stop. As the engine whirred to a soft purr, the doors swung open. The noise that was so deafening stopped. The passengers gently rocked in rhythm with the vibrations of the bus and waited like an audience in the theatre waiting for the curtain to rise. Anticipation.
He stepped on, a long trench coat, unusual for this time of year, she thought. A statement piece rather than necessity? He paid the driver with a collection of coins then tipped his hat. He walked towards her, slowly, powerfully. She knew what was coming. Every journey, day in, day out.
Clutching her bag tighter, feeling that tightness in her chest now burning. Frustration? Anger?
“Stand” commanded the man.
“No” replied Rosa.