All’s Well With The Bus

My friends have their names back

William Essex


Milk being poured into a cup of coffee, just at the point where the pattern is forming on the top. I can see a small heart.
Same again decaf, and an Americano, please. Photo by Fahmi Fakhrudin on Unsplash

So I wrote a story recently about meeting two friends for coffee at the Olive Grove. We dressed up for the occasion, and talked about everything, and then it all got a bit circular because we talked about a story I’d written.

In the story — the one I wrote recently — I mentioned them both by name.

Pressed Publish and got immediate feedback:

“You put our names in!”

I’m a bit sensitive to other people’s privacy so I went back and took their names out again.

Met them again today, at The Pavilion this time. More feedback:

“You took our names out!”

So … anyway, well, David’s an artist, more self-taught than any other kind of taught, and planning to do some studying (and hold an exhibition of new work) in the New Year, and Jan’s an artist who works in textiles, who shows her work at The Poly.

This time, the challenge wasn’t to dress up, but each to wear one item typically worn by the opposite — I don’t know, the language of gender and all that has change so much recently. The opposite, anyway. Yes, I know there are no rigid distinctions. Yes, yes, I know. But. That’s what we agreed.

Jan, who was a model back in the day (we also brought old photographs), turned up wearing a Poirot-style false moustache. David, who was bearded back in the day, turned up wearing a very fetching necklace. William’s sunflower-style yellow and green clip-on earrings were supplied by The Bean Hive by the Sea.

I like this town for many reasons, but one of them is that if you happen to forget that you’re wearing big colourful earrings, and if the petite and beautiful woman next to you is sporting an enormous black moustache — well, that’s just kinda fine by everybody.

The Pavilion was packed with young mothers and very young children (plus a couple of young fathers) rolling out Play Doh with red plastic rolling pins and singing about Old MacDonald and his farm. The wheels on the bus were going round and round as they have been since I was that age.

Outside the windows, past our reflections, the rain was blowing into swirls around the bandstand and the tops of the trees were waving madly in the gale. But the room was bright and happy, and the children were singing, and for a moment there, with my friends and those young families, I felt that the world outside could — just wait.



William Essex

Former everything. I still write books, I still write stories. Author of The Book of Fake Futures, The Journey from Heaven, Escape Mutation.