The double decker slows down to a smooth halt as it arrives at the bus stop. After the doors burst open, there’s a hissing sound indicating that the ramp is being lowered to assist a passenger who might find it difficult climbing up the steps. In this case it is a Jamaican lady, or maybe Trinidadian or Barbadian or Dominican. The truth is that I don’t know, but that she is from the Caribbean I have no doubt. Her sartorial choices betray that fact. There is her peach-coloured church hat with the white borders to begin with, her long, loose-fitting buttoned-up, beige or cream dress, her black and flat shoes. Above all, it is her humble but proud demeanour that announces she belongs to an organisation like the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Her eyes look tired, perhaps from too much Bible-reading. There is a half-smile on her face that seems to say “I’ve seen it all, son, and then some more”. Her white hair with still a few streaks of dark in it is not combed and yet it suits her perfectly.
Sunlight bathes the lower deck. A young man gives up his seat for the
elderly woman. Perhaps she reminds him of his own grandmother. For a fleeting
moment, as the black of their skins rub together accidentally, I can hear the
susurrus of history pages being turned and the whisper of an old forgotten hymn being recalled.
The bus goes past the community centre, the new, Turkish-run banqueting hall
and the recently refurbished police station. I press the red button and stand
up. As I walk past the Jamaican/Trinidadian/Barbadian/Dominican lady, I look into
her eyes. They might be tired from too much Bible-reading, but they are still
full of life.
Photo taken by the blog author
Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on
Sunday 21st September at 10am (GMT)