Day 44 – The Number Forty-Four



Word count: 563


Lydia slumped against the back of the bus shelter. It was torrential. Raindrops lashed against the plastic cover of the shelter as she and the other waiting souls wordlessly watched the world go by without them. A small river was forming by the side of the curb and as the traffic sloshed through it, small tidal waves splashed over the edge and soaked their shoes. It was February and this was meant to be winter.

The woman next to Lydia was humming some old song that her mother no doubt used to sing to her.  She was staring into space, eyes glazed with an expression only attained when waiting indefinitely for the imminent arrival of public transport. There was a man as well, wearing the type of hat men tend to buy at a certain age. He was soaked through to the skin, shopping bags dangling limply from his tired arms. The girl at the far end of the bus stop was head bopping to music being pumped from her headphones.

Lydia herself was drenched. Her long coat was stunning on her, but didn’t quite match the water resistance it pledged to have when she had bought it. Wet though she was, she was at the stage of being so sodden it was warm and squelchy. On any other day there would be nothing more comforting than spending the rest of the evening by the log fire. But today nothing would comfort her. Nothing would be sufficient to save her from her sadness.

That afternoon she had had some news. Up until that point her day had been perfect and up until that time she would have said she was almost content, almost happy. Now she was too upset to properly digest what had happened. A bus turned the corner, spilling a large river of water on to the pavement. It slowed to the stop, but no one signaled for it to pull over and no one seemed to be getting out so it continued on down the road.

Lydia turned to the woman next to her.

“Have you ever suddenly realized something that you should have known a long time ago?”

The woman was slowly pulled away from her day dream, though barely turning her head towards Lydia, “Yes, yes I do.”

“What do you do once you’ve found out?”

“Oh, my dear, I don’t think there’s ever an answer to that one,” she said in a gravelly sweet accent, “I think there are only questions.”


“What time is it?”

Lydia bemusedly checked her watch, “Five twenty-three.”

“And what road are we on?”

“West Thorpe Street…” Lydia was confused now.

“And where are you going?”


“Are you? That’s nice. What’s there?”

Lydia took a second to reply. She knew exactly what was waiting for her at home, “Nothing.”

The woman smiled vacantly, “So why are you going home?”

“I don’t know… Do you think I should go somewhere else?”

“Do you want to?”

“I think so…”

“Somewhere new?”


“Somewhere where you won’t make the same mistakes again?”


“Then you need to go there….”

“How do I get there?”

The woman finally turned towards her and smiled kindly, as if she knew something Lydia did not, “Number forty-four, my dear. It’ll take you right there.”

“When does it come?”

“Oh we’re all waiting for it here, we’re all waiting…”

~ by S.G. Mark on November 20, 2011.

One Response to “Day 44 – The Number Forty-Four”

  1. that’s a good one.

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