Michael Thorne

A Long Journey

Two little ladies with their mother’s pashminas wrapped around their bodies,
radiant orange and striking purple,
skip around the passengers awaiting the time of boarding
in a dull grey bus station.

Their carefree games cause mother and grandmother to fret,
afraid that the grumpy crowd will not appreciate
this explosion of colour and song.

‘Sit down grandma!’ the younger girl demands.
‘They’ve got special chairs for old people like you.’

Grandmother, humble, smiles and takes her place,
rolling eyeballs and proclaiming to mother
‘How will we survive the journey?’

The skipping continues,
young smiles move in time with each other
through a forest of static faces.

I cannot resist sticking out my tongue
at the quizzing eyes that pop up in front of me
to conduct their brief survey in search of further entertainment.

It is a battle I know I cannot win.

Mother knows it.

And grandmother.

I say that noisy young girls travel in the cavernous underbelly of the bus,
just then emerging at the driver’s command
and triggering a flurry of activity from passengers keen to get the best seats.

‘No they don’t!’ the girls cry in unison.
‘You’re silly!’ the older girl shouts,
while her sister twitches and moves closer to mother, less sure.

“Don’t get them started,” mother smiles in disdain.

“You’ll regret it,” grandmother laughs. “It’s a long journey.”

Michael Thorne © 2009