When I opened my eyes, everything was light, much lighter than I would’ve expected for five-thirty in the morning. An awful suspicion arose and I checked the alarm clock, groaning when I realized that I had forgotten to flip the ON switch! I had half-an-hour to take a bus on the other side of London! Cursing inwardly, I scrambled into whatever clothes I could grab and thumped painfully down the stairs, lamenting the absence of nice, dark-haired boys to come to my rescue.
A couple of sore muscles, taxis, trains and hurried directions later, I made it to the station…twenty minutes too late. Collapsing onto the nearest bench, new ticket in hand, I mentally bemoaned the time and hard-earned money my stupidity was costing me. Already I could see myself, returning home early, my bags dragging forlornly as I made my way to the front door, only to have it opened by my disappointed family, their “I told you so’s” ringing in my ears. Banishing that unwelcome thought, I concentrated on demolishing another crumbling pasty while simultaneously reassuring myself that this, at least, was one bus I wouldn’t miss. Once safely ensconced aboard the 9 ‘o clock to Glasgow, it took a moment to realize that I would only have five minutes to make the last connecting bus on the other end. Accosting the driver, I did my best impression of a Britified Scarlett O’Hara, putting wide eyes, helpless feminine gestures and a soft accent to good use -though I refused to stoop to the level of eyelash-fluttering!-. “Was there any possible way we could get there ten minutes early?” His reply was not encouraging.
Sighing, I settled back in my chair, resolving to take whatever came and not worry. Easier said than done. However, the further we went, the more promising the situation became, and half-way through he became grudgingly optimistic. “But, you’ll have to keep your fingers crossed,” he warned, “that, or say a few more prayers!” I replied saucily, dancing past him to stretch my legs, my heart lighter than it had been all day. Despite a few heart-stopping moments, the bus got in eight minutes early. Glancing with relief at the trickle of people still waiting at the bus stop, I strode towards the end of the line, head held high and -after a mad dash to the nearest machine- cash in hand. Noticing a commotion ahead, I listened in on a few of the passengers’ conversations. “…can’t get a ticket. Overbooked.” My heart skipped a beat. Oh no, please! Not again! I sent a desperate prayer in the direction of the ceiling. It must’ve worked because ten minutes later the young driver motioned for my bag, accepting my enthusiastic thanks with a nod and handed me my ticket and change.
Staring at the passing scenery, it finally hit me. I had made it. I had finally made it! Suddenly, all the stress of the previous few days melted away and the world was a beautiful place. My overwhelming cheerfulness did not abate a jot when a boy I had seen earlier sat down next to me. Handicapped, I had thought sympathetically, but as we slowly fell into conversation, I was forced to re-evaluate my first impression. Intelligent and amusing, though a mumble, coupled with an indecipherable accent made communication rather difficult. After hearing that I would be staying close by, he immediately asked to take me out on the town for a few drinks, -a luxury I could only legally enjoy there-, and started to make plans accordingly. I laughed, saying “it sounded like fun”, but made no promises.
Our short acquaintance almost came to a standstill, however, when I mentioned that I couldn’t stand the Beatles. But he soon rallied, declaring that it was now imperative for us to be friends, so that he could help me see the light and the dreadful error of my musical taste. “Oh, really?” I quirked an eyebrow. Some humility, I shrugged, but he seems harmless enough. This certainly promises to be interesting, I thought, waving him off. “I’ll look you up on Facebook!” Maybe, I added silently, and turned my attention back to the matter at hand, finding whoever was going to pick me up. Thankfully, it being such a small town, this was relatively easy, and soon I was blissfully bumping my way along a single-track road, heading closer to the hills…and the sea. The next hour passed in a blur, until, sinking deeply into a soft pillow, I could relax completely, my last thought that I was -finally- where I was supposed to be.