The door of the post office burst open. Elle looked up from browsing through envelopes. A girl stared at her like she was going to eat her up. She had flaming red hair. She walked to the counter and bought a stamp and turned to stare at Elle as she left. “Weirdo”, thought Elle. She picked up the brown packet of envelopes and looked out at the grey day. It was drizzling and the raindrops started to mark the window.
The girl with the red hair was still staring at her from outside. Elle felt distracted and distinctly uneasy. “Looks like she’s getting the bus”, Elle realised as she gathered her things and waited by the bus stop. She kept a safe distance from the girl with the red hair until she watched with horror at her approach. It was one of those moments when she felt like she was ready to topple over into some other space.
“Hi”, the girl said brightly. “Hi”, Elle smiled. “I’m M” she said. “Is that short for Emma?” Elle enquired.
“No. It’s just the letter”. “Oh, right” Elle paused. “You look heart broken” M said. “Who’s the guy you’re in love with?” Elle was shocked. “Love”… “What do you mean?” replied Elle. “Nothing” said M.
There was a long silence until Elle finally spoke.
“As for guys, a coconut cream and a mug of tea can satisfy me any day. It’s uncomplicated and I feel I can relax. “Where’s the excitement in that?” M insisted.
“Sugar and I have a very good relationship” Elle confirmed. “But you can’t die in the arms of a coconut cream” M said with mocking dreaminess.
“Look, I understand humans have to mate butHollywoodmakes sure they do” Elle asserted. M did not look defeated. “What about eternal love?” M piped up.
Elle stopped fidgeting with her bags and looked at M.
“Maybe, I don’t know. Who are you? Do you always ask these kinds of questions?”
“Only if they make people uncomfortable”, M smirked. “Well that’s reassuring”. “This is the weirdest conversation I’ve ever had at a bus stop”, Elle observed. “Here’s the bus now”, M said with delight.
Elle readjusted her mind to the normality of the arrival of the bus but that too seemed to have been jolted out of everyday existence. Elle got in the line a little behind M and they waited to get on the bus.
Elle looked for M but she had gone to the very back and looked uninterested as she looked out the window. Elle sat at the front feeling stranger than ever. She could only think about eternal love, and who M was if indeed her name was M.
The rain started to fall heavily as the bus weaved around the country roads. Elle started to think that maybe she wasn’t just a shell of a human being on a tin can bus.
That maybe she was some form of eternal love. The bus jerked to a sudden stop.
Elle listened to the pronounced sound of heels coming from behind her. Elle looked around to see M at her shoulder. “Think about it”, she said and proceeded to clank off the bus.
Elle watched M walk down a lane way that led to a castle. She didn’t look back. “She lives in a castle?” questioned Elle to herself. “Well that makes sense”, she thought as she watched the glow of her red hair fade into the distance.
* This story is influenced by ‘Blue Notebook No. 10 or The Red- Haired Man’ by Daniil Kharms. *
Lena O’ Connell
Lena O’ Connell graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2009. She
specialised in fine art, sculpture. Lena currently lives and works in Tipperary, Ireland.
She teaches art to children and is aspiring to undertake a higher diploma in
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