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I do not know of a more extravagant view than the one which is unfolding promptly seen from the upper floor on a double-decker bus. I have this strong preconception as I am walking in a hurry to the station escaping from those huge red (hop on, hop off drivel) monsters. I feel like an out of the shape dancer, trying to preserve my not gracious anymore balance on a wet, leafy pavement, made of slick brown and burgundy leaves. Such symbolics can only indicate October, a month of uncertain beauty and guaranteed melancholy. For me specifically, it delivers more safety as I can almost effortlessly hibernate in a shell of my apartment. I only have to make those few thousands steps, catch the train and voila! So I just continue moving courageously, even though I find it impossible to keep my head up. I gaze at the tips of my black pointed shoes covered with a mud texture and passionately hope no pedestrian will stroke my arm, laugh at me or scan me with their ability to acknowledge a pathetic existence of people of my kind. I pass cheerful couples and it makes me feel sick: stilettos with red devilish sole or perhaps soul slithering on soaked leaves beside surprisingly impeccable leather brogues marching confidently.

"6.11 Great Northern service to London King's Cross is cancelled due to a prior passenger incident” is being announced as I push the heavy door with my skinny elbow in order not to get contaminated with the invisible traces of sticky palms, smears of street food and cheap lavender hand creams. I panic straightaway as I know this nightmare will only impose further strains on me. Its presence soon is to be identified by certain features: an enormous queue outside in desperate anticipation of a replacement bus. I detest buses, trains at least offer you contemptuous scraps of comfort, you hide from passengers, they provide you with a option of changing the carriage, but buses?! I am forced by a grand irony to pull myself together and board it. I join the queue, trembling and praying others will not pick on my issues. Confusion of intentions as I describe it. Eternity extends over the stream of people sucking me inside like a predator. Then comes the bus. Green, eye-catching even at autumn dusk, colour. Double-decker pulled out of the outlandish 70's. Garnished with faded lettering roof is only one of the many assumingly major anomalies. Elderly content fills up the lower level of vehicle quickly so I angrily climb up the narrow as hell steps. The interior is made out of elementary seats with excessive old fashioned dirt. My splenetic disposition might explode with a repellent wave of vomiting so I cover the half of the face with a lightly scented scarf. My tormented nostrils fail to inhale anything else. I curl up at the very front seat, at least this way I do not see others. A huge sinister crack on the windscreen. Chatter and chatter. More and more illusive. I murmur numbers. Then the bus departs towards the yellowish darkness. Once it begins to move, the avalanche of chunky branches hits the windows at almost regular intervals. The adventurous spontaneous countryside route. The corner of my eye catches passengers making use of the impulse to shift their bodies away from the glass. But I am not bothered anymore, I have no mercy either on myself or on them. My space has already been intrusively invaded and I will never walk unabashed.

Kinga Elwira Cybulska is a bookseller and poet.

Published on October 17, 2016.