A Stroll – Vincent Edward Manda
They had tickets for the underground; which would’ve had them back in half an hour, but they walked up the wrong direction of a one way street looking for a bus that would add two hours to their journey.
It was quite clear that no vehicles could stop on their side, yet they walked on slowly, steadfast in their choice. Cars sped down the opposite way while buses and taxis stopped momentarily on the other side to take stranded travellers out of a deluge.
Was there method to this madness, or was it just madness? In her own peculiar way, only time could tell that story.
Finally the road parted and traffic began moving both ways. They came across a bus stop with a map informing them that the stop they needed was back the way they’d come, next to the underground station.
They turned to walk back at an even slower pace and were soon at the station. Their hearts quickened when the timetable said their bus would arrive in half an hour. They sat in the bus shelter and waited.
An old woman and an old man dressed as though they were heading to the theatre, entered the shelter holding hands. Both of them shivered so violently that the walkers gave up their seats and stood outside in the rain.
Their bus was now twenty minutes away. An automated voice from the underground announced a good service on all London underground lines.
Rain fell into their hair, onto their shoulders and into their shoes, yet they felt none of it. “It ought to have been madness”, time must say as she tells the tale of the walkers who waited next to an underground station for a bus in the rain.
It arrived five minutes early and they reluctantly got on, climbed up to the top deck and sat in the very back of the bus. They talked and talked and in what felt like a minute their stop was announced.
They disembarked and spent twenty minutes walking down a dark, dirty and wet street. This was normally a stroll a toddler could make in five minutes.
They paused under a lamplight next to a dumpster at the end of the street. It was time to part ways.
One walked left; into a well lit street with many cracks, holes and rubbish on the pavement, while the other walked right; into a small path obscured by the shadows of an untended hemlock grove.
“What method is there in madness?” Asked an old man sheltering himself in the dumpster by the lamp.
“None.” Replied his companion as she ate with gloved fingers from an old dented can of baked beans.