Rain fell gently on that Melbourne morning,
the morning, I took my seat on the bus to leave.
It’s funny I can’t recall where the journey started.
I left my flat, empty of my life,
left the terror of someone,
banging on my door in the early morning
threatening my life, I do remember that.
Some unknown stranger at the wrong address
or was he? How would I know? Those pictures in the foyer, warning
of the masked man, a predator of women
targeting those who lived on their own.
I didn’t ring the police that night, can’t imagine why I didn’t
I think about that, the stupidity.
Still I don’t remember leaving on that grey Melbourne morning,
I don’t even remember the bus depot,
or the taxi ride to get there.
All I recall is the seat by the window,
the rain falling over crossroads near Victoria Market
and a smile
from a stranger in the tram opposite.
It was one of those movie moments,
eyes meeting across distances,
an intersection, traffic lights like worm holes wriggling across the tarmac
I should have entered that other dimension
right there and then
but I sat there waiting for the lights to change,
smiling at the stranger across the way
“Get off the bus,” an inner voice said. Mine?
“Get off now.” It was persistent, and as the tram passed on by, he waved.
“Last chance, get off!”
I think about that voice now and what may have happened.
In the movies he would have disembarked the tram, waited just outside the markets
I would meet him and we would share a coffee, a smile, a laugh
he could have been the one
of course the danger of strangers was overwhelming
I stayed seated.
That smile, that moment, has never left me
the strength of that voice “get off!”
and the life that may have transpired
as my material possessions rattled on to the outback
leaving the free spirit behind to chance her luck
I would have liked her
she played it safe instead.