As I passed by the National Express bus station on my way from the College to the Central Station tonight, a group of three young people in track suits overtook me, and as they were doing so our ways intersected with a guy standing by the bus station, as if he’d got off a bus and was waiting for a taxi or for his lift to turn up.
The three were a couple holding hands, and a male companion. As these three were drawing level with me, walking more quickly than I, to my right, I noticed the guy at the bus stop, to my left, looking… At me? Not at me, surely, I’m rarely leered at. No, as they overtook me and all our courses momentarily met and then diverged he was looking at those kids.
And then they were past me, and I was looking ahead. But the male of the couple, keeping on walking quickly, was looking back over his shoulder, beyond me, mouthing angry words I couldn’t hear because of Tom Waits on my MP3 player. He looked briefly ahead, and then turned back again, and he was angry and still walking quickly but thinking of stopping and I lip read “rag-heed” and “cunt”. All three stopped briefly, and looked around, and for a second I was in a no man’s land and wondering if there’d be violence and knowing there wouldn’t be, and the three turned away and walked quickly on.