In this season of intermittent showers, an overcast sky in the afternoon is a welcome respite from the equatorial Sun. There’s a new energy in the surroundings and you can see it on the animated faces of people in conversation, hear it in the merry whistle from the hawker peddling odds and ends and feel it in the wind blowing in from the sea.

The two girls at the B19 stop weren’t immune to this energy. Dressed in their pretty white school uniforms, their lively chatter brought a sense of cheer to the otherwise desolate bus stop. They had a glossy magazine with them, ‘Teen’ or some such name, and were oohing and aahing over something; the new boy-band’s photos?

This route doesn’t see much traffic since there’s not much of development along the road. The few vehicles that do take the road zip along merrily, speed limits ignored in the pleasure of cruising along the clear road in fine weather.

The girls were waiting for the 200, the only bus to ply on that route. It’s an infrequent service, but the girls didn’t show any signs of impatience. They kept each other good company, the many details of their young lives providing enough fodder for banter. Presently, the bus came in view. One of the girls looked up, waved at the driver to stop, and went back to the magazine. As the bus approached, the girls started tugging at the magazine, each wanting to keep it. Pictures of handsome young men do cast a spell on girls.

Something fell out of one of the girl’s handbag. A folded piece of paper. She kneeled down on a leg to pick it up. A gentle waft blew it a few feet away on to the road. Her friend giggled. “Is that Eric’s letter?”, she asked. The blushing girl looked up at her, nodded and reached over onto the road to retrieve that letter which was still flirting with the wind.

The bus stopped too late, the tyre was too heavy, the blood on the road was too much.