This post is inspired by a writing prompt at The Write Practice. The prompt suggests writing about an experience from your day, but up the stakes by introducing conflict. Here is my attempt.
I woke naturally, sunlight glowing through my eyelids.
“Why didn’t we buy curtains yesterday?” I wonder to myself, peaking at the clock to find it’s only 7.30am. Back home I would never have woken this early without my alarm.
Still, it is a week day and I need to go into the office so I roll out of bed and make my way to the bathroom where I do my hair, then back to the bedroom to dress. As I fasten my cufflinks I look at my reflection. My hair needs a cut, but it doesn’t seem that long ago I had it done. I noticed a barber downstairs on the weekend and wonder if I should give them a try. How does one go about finding a new hair dresser?
I switch on the coffee machine and it comes to life with a whir. A scoop of beans and the grinder is on. I’m relieved it worked first time today as I can’t afford to replace it right now. I sit down to my coffee and muesli and the doorbell rings.
“Yes?” I answer.
“Courier! Please come down to collect your parcel.”
Wonderful! This will be our modem. We’ll be able to keep our appointment with the telco tomorrow and be online before the weekend. My holey old sneakers clash with my suit but I can’t be bother wrestling with the shoe horn. As I step out of the elevator I pity the postman surrounded by his pile of boxes, continuously paging the various apartments he’s delivering to today. I wonder how many people aren’t home and how long he waits.
Breakfast done, I throw an apple in my bag and make my way to the bus stop. It’s a pleasant morning, blue skies and not yet hot. It’s a shame the afternoons have been getting so humid, but perhaps today will be different without the cloud cover.
This is only my second time on the bus, but it’s an easy 20 minute trip. We race along the bus lane, slipping in and out as people get on and off. The person next to me has pressed the buzzer and wants to get past. The bus is still bouncing along and I stumble as I stand to let her out of her seat. As I sit back down, I think of the train gliding smoothly along its tracks and feel a pang of home sickness. I realise I miss the time spent with mum on the train, and hope she will have a good day today returning to the office after her break.
The van beside us toots loudly as the bus pulls out in front of it, and I’m drawn back to the present.
At the next stop a couple board the bus with a large dog. The man is wearing an Everlast singlet, showing off his tattoos. The cold white lights of the bus reflect off his smooth shaved head. His girlfriend is wearing heavy make-up paired with large gold hoop earrings, chewing gum as she taps away on her phone with hot pink nails. I wonder if dogs are allowed on buses, thinking this is not something you would expect to see back home. Maybe it is, then again maybe the driver doesn’t have the courage to turn the couple away.
Suddenly, as a lady stands up getting ready for her stop, the dog barks and snaps at her handbag. Startled, the lady trips and lands on her back, knocking her head on the edge of a chair.
Distracted by his girlfriend, the man had relaxed his hold on the leash and it slips through his hand. The bus has stopped, doors open, and the dog races from the vehicle.
“Hey!” the man yells, oblivious to the fallen woman and the blood on the floor. “Get back here!”
His girlfriend looks up from her phone, slaps him on the arm and tells him to go after the dog. They both hurry off the bus.
Meanwhile, a young man is kneeling beside the fallen lady drawing a clean handkerchief from his pocket and applying it to the back of her head. She appears shocked, and silent tears are welling in her eyes.
“It’s ok,” the man comforts her. “There’s a small cut, but it doesn’t look deep.” Another passenger is gathering her belongings back in to her handbag.
“Is everyone ok?” The bus driver has made his way down the bus to investigate the commotion. The young man stands and explains what has just happened. “And are you alright?” the driver asks of the lady who fell. She has managed to sit up, but is still on the floor.
“I…I think so,” she mutters. “My head hurts, but I think I’ll be ok.”
“You’ll need to get yourself checked by a doctor. I’ll write up an incident report, and someone from head office will contact you later in the week.” He gives her a friendly smile, then says in a louder voice to the rest of the bus, “I’m sorry everyone, but we’re going to be stopped here for a little while. I’d suggest you dismount and take the next bus which is 5 minutes behind us.”
Some people groan, but most are understanding. We all stand and gather our belongings, then shuffle down the aisle. The young man has helped the lady into a seat to avoid her being trampled by the crowd.
She catches my eye as I pass and I give her a sympathetic smile. I hope she’ll be ok.