In The Bus

Summer descended upon her and sank its searing claws into her brain, fracturing the tender connections between her several and swirling thoughts. She squinted against the shard of light that streamed through the dusty, blotched glass pane. Had she been reposing in an air-conditioned, neutrally toned room that was scrubbed and vacuumed and polished and mopped to a degree of pristine perfection, would her mind have been a tad bit less cluttered? Had she not been rocking to the blithe rhythms of this ancient bus, one that was in effect, a furnace on wheels, would some clarity have graced her musings again?
She looked at the man slumped in his seat right across from her, his limbs dangling at bizarre angles, movements spastic as rendered by those of their common ride. He was dressed in a flowing, cotton kurta , and on his head was an inescapably  psychedelic yellow turban ,coiled about his head into a bright melon.  His nose twitched occasionally as his abundant, nimble and half-a-meter-long mustache jumped to tease his nostrils with every bump negotiated by the bus; and he stirred in response, coming close, every time, to picking on them, but never waking from his absurd slumber. There was something so childlike and repulsive about this stranger who seemed so comfortable in a suffocating metal encasement teeming with other inmates and their odors intensified by the omnipresence of  onerous heat. What was it  beneath that eyesore of a headdress that seemed to have swept him with such tranquility, dreams that must seem so real that reality itself feels like a flimsy wisp of imagination? He was ugly in his bliss, like a little boy scurrying about with a running nose, grinning like an imbecile and reveling in the taste of his own nasal discharge. She felt punished, incarcerated within the rickety bus, her desultory consciousness and with this odiously languid man. Her brain imbued with images- a sacred bonfire, its flames mocking her as she carefully perambulated around it in a circle, passing every beaming face seven times and  being showered with freshly plucked and fragrant rose petals; rose petals strewn over clean sheets; sheets wrinkled and crushed; crushed hands still henna-painted, scarlet; scarlet stains hidden under fragrant rose petals. And the strange man with the agile mustache, half-a meter-long.


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