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(A flash fiction of 967 words)

Bella's Journey


by Lesley Jackson

Bella takes a bus ride and struggles with her feelings when someone sits beside her.

She waits for the bus to start and while she waits she watches people getting on.

Bella walks down the length of the bus and sits on the left-hand side behind two women. One of the women smells strongly of perfume; not the soft, powdery kind that Bella likes but the dense, cloying, jasmine or gardenia kind. She feels sure that the woman’s companion must be holding her breath. Bella sits back a little and turns to look at the shelter as the bus pulls away. Hers is the only bus stop on her road that has a shelter. She finds the great swirls of pink graffiti covering the panes of glass oddly affecting. Joe, the marks seem to say over and over. Joe. She has never known a Joe but she knows what it is to ache for a boy, to roll his name around in the back of her mind and throat, to breathe it in and out...

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