And the anger grows like a kraken inside him and he feeels it’s tentacles wrap round his brain and the voice is getting louder and louder and he needs to drown it out, do something, anything to make it all stop.
And now he’s pounding the window with his fists.
Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop and the words are matching the rythmn of the punches on glass, but behind that is the other voice, the sneaky voice , all sibbilants and sneering
” Shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have done that”
And in his head, he roars like a man bull, a minotaur, a beast of a man
“Just shut the fuck up”
But what comes out is a broken whisper and his fists are cradling his head, punch drunk, gone one round too many with the madness inside.
There’s a chorus now, the haters and the doubters and of course, she’s there, whispering behind the others, he shouldn’t be able to hear her, not with the litany of jeering, but somehow, he always can.
Even when the other are quiet, when the cheap brandy and the cider have lulled them into something near to silence, when he can finally just get
SOME FUCKING PEACE.
She’s doing it now
“Shouldn’t have done it….no you…..not like the others…………….not worth nothing……shouldn’t have done ……………should have known better………..who does he think he is.
And then she lets the others in, conducts them, orchestrates them and when he looks in the glass, sees his reflection in the darkness from the outside on the 3.47 night bus, he sees her in his eyes, staring out at him and she’s got that look on her face……
Baby voice is just screaming now, of hunger and fear and cold and left aloneness and the dark and the things that happen in the dark, so he rocks backwards and forwards, trying to muffle to screams, trying to give some comfort.
He fumbles in the carrier bag on his lap and then, he can’t believe his luck, half a bottle of white lightening, he can’t remember where it came from, can hardly get the cap off quick enough.
Gulps it down , just enough, he knows, to calm everybody down, get things under control enough so he get off this bloody night bus, find a corner, re-group, calm down.
Already it’s getting better, baby is just groaning now, the chorus is taking a break, she’ there, of course, but it’s all manageable now.
He stands up, moves down the bus, the movement, the lurching unbalances him, he almost falls against a dozing couple
Of course, she’s in like a shot
“clumsy, you was always clumsy, couldnt take care of yourself, let alone anyone else……”
But this is a manageable murmur and he reaches the platform and drops off, slips into the night.
And on the night bus, everyone breathes out, risks a brief eye contact with their nearest neighbour.
Some nods, smiles, eye brows raised and of course the universal symbol for the nutter on the bus.