You’re waiting. The heat of your body pushing through the layers of goose down and synthetic wool, challenging the damp cold drowning your limp hair. Numbers zip by with a grunt and a screech, gears in the motor resisting the force of the brake pads. Colours and lights flash through the gaps between your dewy eyelashes. You’re trying to find your time, your moment when you break out and step on board. But it’s a challenge, because the micros move too quickly and the rain blurs your vision and the clothes wrapped around you tighten like glad wrap so you almost can’t breathe. So you’re waiting.
Committing to the moment takes over your body. Your hand rises into the air, signaling to the micro flying towards you. You keep it high, fist pumped into the sky like you have just won a race, you have just conquered the search for your micro.
Foreign coins clink in your sweaty palm as they are passed to the conductor, each disc counted carefully and precisely beforehand to avoid confusion when staring at the unknown faces engraved upon them. You crumple the ticket up in your hand, the folded edges digging into the creases of your fingers, barely noticed because you concentrate on a new task now; to find a seat.
A sudden force buckles your knees and pushes you towards the back of the bus. Your hands flail, desperately grasping for a stationary object in a space where everyone and everything seems to be moving, spinning, jolting. The whirlwind of people, carefully balanced between each other, shove you towards a seat in the third row, you aspire to be like them; moving with the motion. The worn foam envelopes you, caressing the underside of your thighs, your sense of gravity re-gifted to you. Your knees bang against the seat infront, constructed for chilean-length legs, the rough plastic grazing your stretched denim. It’s like the micro is driving forward without you, the same rush that propels your seat forward holds your head back, a thick rope tied around your neck to prevent you from going anywhere. Then you are released, thrown forward, brain punching your forehead until you are certain you have lost braincells. The power of the red lights.
They change quickly, flickering across your vision, blurring, flashing, like the words that zip past your ears, each syllable merged into the next. Vehicles asphyxiate you, you are the prey of a snake, squeezed into your place. Sense them circling you, pressure building within your chest as they tighten their hold, making it hard to breathe. It’s hard to think with all the oxygen trapped in your lungs, unable to make the journey through your hot blood to the confused state of your brain. Disorientation confirms its place in your mind, “where are you?”. It’s not a multi-choice question, there is only one answer: lost. You are lost. Lost in a rat race, knowing how to be released but not when because if it’s too soon you will never get there; too late and you will never come back.
Standing up is effortful, knees weak, pushing through the aroma of damp, sweaty clothes that sticks to you and covers your body. Your knees bend, eyes looking for recognition of the buildings around you, staring down the dark, damp tunnel of the micro to the flickering, bright lights outside the window. The rain impairs your vision and you wonder “am I there yet?”. The thought racing around your mind, destroying every other thought in your head, taking over, taking control.
Dread seeps through you veins. The creaking door folds open, your heavy foot lifted above the cold, dark pavement that awaits you. It’s too late to turn back now. The micro zooms off, forcing you into the sharp, cold air, the same air that quickly rushes through your body as you gasp in shock.
This isn’t your destination.