Vejle bus station smells of desperation and the poops. Everyone is downcast, waiting for a bus to take them anywhere. Out. Away.
At 3pm I had settled myself, standing out of the main walkway, waiting for the Billund bus. Listening to what the kids call “an mp3 machine”, listening to my Pop Music.
A man shoved me to one side to get to the bin and then went back to standing to the side of me. I clocked him, mid twenties, not very bright, eating a sausage and a bread roll (but not together, he was not French or anything). I sighed at the ill use of my personal space. I caught a little satisfied grin from him and turned my back, stepping backwards again out of the way.
Another shove, this time much harder because I had positioned myself much closer to the wall. He moved back to where he was again. I took out my ear phones and gave him A Look. I think they taught me this look in teacher training college. It means
“WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”
He looked back, the same facial expression as the man who pissed on me in the Kanye West concert “What do you mean this does not pass for flirting?” his look said.
Amused excitement to know a woman was looking at him.
“Why are you shoving me?”
Confusion. I have used English on purpose. If he cannot or will not answer me in English, I already know that I will give him a hard time about it.
“I had to get to the…” gestures to the bin.
His expression is hurt now, hurt and confused.
“You could have gone in front of me.”
He walks behind me but I move so he does not need to push again.
“What’s the fucking problem?”
A gift. A gift from him to me, like when a chess player does the wrong thing with the pawns at the start and the game is over before it begins.
I keep my voice soft and deceptively sweet, my eyes are cold and hard.
“Why are you swearing at me?”
I clasp my hands to my chest. Oh you brute! I am saying with my body language. He does not know what has hit him. I widen my eyes in fake surprise at his oafishness. There is no sign from me that I am upset or excited, everything is taken inwards. Cold and flinty. People around us have no idea this is a row.
“At least I didn’t ROB you.”
He wants gratitude that he only assaulted me, wanted props for not going further. He wants me to acknowledge that he, Bjarne Big Balls, *could* have taken my purse by force if he had wanted.
“Oh. Are you *drunk*?” My voice is light and dismissive, like I have already forgotten him. You can go now. “Is THAT what this is? You’re *drunk* at 3pm?”
He looks at the floor. Either he did not understand me and had no comeback or is indeed drunk. He shambles off to the toilet, muttering.
A few minutes later, he shambles back but this time avoiding eye contact and pretending to be on his mobile telephone.