Penny started sniffling. She said she's been a bit sick. She turns back to the window and rubs the fog away. Rows of shops appear, most of them chickenshops. There's an absurd amount of fried chicken restaurants in London and their interiors look like rude nightmares of McDonald's or KFC. The dirtier the food, the brighter the lights have to be. Subtlety is for the secure, or perhaps the rich.
Penny locks her phone and all the boys inside disappear to black. Her knuckles whiten as she grips her phone. She said she's losing hope. She's becoming hard like a machine filtering and sorting. She's had to ghost guys to simply keep sane as they keep pounding on the door of her inbox. Her archived messages read like a baby's name book for boys.
I take the phone out of Penny's limp hand and place it face down on the seat. I put her hands in mine and look at her eyes. She looks down. I wanted to say that I knew she was tired, that I knew the grind felt endless, that she mustn't close too tight. But I couldn't say anything. Tears run down her cheeks like a fresh waterfall in spring, held back only by the cold of winter. They ran in thin stream along her cheek with such evenness and rapidity that it seemed beautifully natural.
I tell Penny that it always comes down to this, doesn't it? Life can feel like a thousand daggers pointed at you. It can feel like giant backpack of sand on your back. It can feel like walking through mud. But we know we have to stay strong persevere. To go it alone. To give meaning to ourselves because at the end of the day, no one else really can.
But sometimes having someone else there is simply really quite nice. Our body knows, our body remembers. Even if we haven't had true 'love' before, our souls are nostalgic for something it's never experienced. I blame it on the movies. And it really is better with two people sometimes. Have you tried clapping with just one hand? I mean, you can kind of slap you're fingers onto your palm, but that kind of sucks. Clapping with two hands is not just 'better' than clapping with one hand, it's different.
Penny is laughing a bit now. Tears are still flowing freely but this time I guess it's the good kind. We sit there trying to do one handed claps with our hands like crabs.
The bus stops and Penny rubs the window furiously and says that we have to go. I bundle past a man eating a chicken drumstick, which seemed to drip either from oil or from the residual steam of the bus, and make towards the closing door. The hydralics of the door was hissing and it could see it shut but just before, a leg shoots from beind me and jams itself in the door. I look back to see Penny smiling with her glasses completely fogged. How she did that, I will never know.