In order to get from A to B and then back to A, I use public transport. I don't drive, a lovely friend did try to teach me once but I could smell the fear that was dripping from every one of her pores after a few minutes so I quickly decided that this was not a good idea, the world is a far safer place for this. Public transport is the bane of my life. Not only does it cost a ridiculous amount of money but I also have to share my journey with nose pickers, water phobics and people who have no respect for their ears or the ears of anyone else sitting within a three mile radius. Occasionally I will meet people who make me think.
Mouse lady is about 60. She waltzed onto the bus, laden with lipstick and carrying her stuffed toy mouse. She stumbled down the bus and chose to sit behind me. Throughout the whole of the journey she was telling her stuffed mouse to be quiet, 'shhh!' I didn't laugh, I couldn't see anything funny or disturbing about her but I did feel sad. Sad that she could have been someones mother, someones granny. I had thoughts of my own mother, how devastated I would feel if she was in this position, so lonely that she had nothing but a stuffed mouse for company.
10 years ago the elderly had families around them, neighbours that would stop by to see how they were. I admit to not knowing a vast amount of my neighbours. My immediate neighbours I know well but others come and go with the university terms and it can be difficult to keep track of who lives where and it's the elderly who fall through the net. I speak to the bus drivers, they are paid 51 pence for each OAP who takes a ride on the bus (it's free for the pensioner) and he admits that the vast majority of them sit and ride to the end of the line, and then back again on an almost daily basis because they have nothing to do and they are lonely. I find this heartbreaking.
As a new parent I was lonely. It's very isolating having a baby to care for and every day blends into one, relentless feeds and nappy changes. I would make up excuses to get out of the house with him so in a way, he was my mouse. My mouse has now grown, he's 12 and I can have a conversation with him. One day he will be living his life and I will be waiting for his visits. Maybe I will be the one sitting on the bus all day with my stuffed mouse.