“London Night Bus” by Sophie van Llewyn

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Holding hands, giggling like children, we run out of the nightclub and onto the first bus.  We’re deaf to the cries of his girlfriend, to the rattle of my boyfriend’s fists. There’s nothing but the smell of exhaust gas simmering in the heat, the gauze of sky above our heads. The crowds around Leicester Square reduced to ambient sound.

In the nightclub, my boyfriend was shouting in my ear.
I couldn’t hear anything except the rage.

He swipes his card against the terminal without letting go of my hand. I reach for my purse, but I realise I must have left it behind at the club. This is why I feel so weightless, ready to float through the open window if he lets go of my hand.

In the nightclub, his girlfriend was smoothing her hands around him
in ways that claimed every patch of his skin.
He kept his eyes free of her touch, above the line of her hair,
penetrating to the back of my head.

I want to check if the driver saw me sneaking in, but my sweet boy pulls me up the stairs towards the top floor of the double-decker. Upstairs, there’s no ceiling, and the floors are made of glass. Under my feet, there’s no one in the driver’s seat, so I needn’t worry about not having paid my fare for this bus that drives us through the clouds, to a place where there’s nothing to separate us from the starry sky.

 

 

 

Sophie van Llewyn lives in Germany. Her prose has been published in Ambit, 2017&2018 NFFD Anthologies, New Delta Review, Banshee, New South Journal etc. Her novella-in-flash, ‘Bottled Goods,’ is available from Fairlight Books. Find her on Twitter.

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