I often likened the rocking of the bus to a broken cradle. I might as well have been asleep. But I saw everything. I stared and stared and tried to see anything but I saw all.
The bus and the two men who shepherded it through the plains that seemed to stretched out forever were my entire life. I never faced them, I was happy to look out the window. A few wisps of smoke drifted by the window as if they were curious, shy children eager to see what I was doing and maybe say hello. They were almost invisible but I could smell nothing but smoke. Even the few wisps who flirted in and out of my view comforted me. I almost smiled. A tire blew out.
We were late, a comforting reminder that the world still turned like it always did. I would keep my place on the bus come what may. No one else seemed to want it maybe they knew it was mine. Between those wisps of smoke I thought I saw messages. Maybe I had spent too much time in my spot, but those black curves and curls that were written on the green plains were like some exotic Arabic calligraphy. I stared and wondered what it meant.
They had a lot to say. Occasionally Krstics screams would remind me that this was still the real world. That these weren’t characters in a fairly tale setting out on an adventure. They stopped many times. They would never make in time. another reminded that this was still the world I knew.
The normal road was blocked off by the military, Misco would be upset. He could drive blindfolded you know. I was there when he did it. I was always there. I might as well be part of the bus you know. From my invisible spot I saw everything. They petty banter, their little lives, Krstic’s little tricks. If anyone else was where I was they would never be able to keep quiet about Kristic’s doubling of the toll. A smug smile might have spread across their lips and the bus would have erupted.
The pigs were brought in. I wondered if anyone would call me out into the farm. Maybe those screaming infants would see me. Or maybe they were too hungry, too scared, too worried about their pen and what was beyond it to see me. I knew they weren’t the only ones. If those wisps of smokes still floated by they would have seen a smile, smug like a man who had seen through Krstic’s mischief.
They set off again. Ready to play their part in making the adventure merry. Letting a tale be told. I wondered what that felt like. Few extra travelers got on and few left. A feast was had. Once gain they did not see. Maybe this was that wisps of smoke were try to tell me. They never saw the armed men.
Krstic’s son was told to drive away. The bus was used to his hands. No other had the hands that needed no sight behind her wheels. They never saw me, the armed men, I though I knew what was coming. War would not let the merry adventure we set off on to continue. Those wisps of smoke with their sly mischief, their playfulness were telling me of their curlers, more sinister cousins. Kistic said nothing when he learnt they would take his son away. Maybe he knew too. That no one would play his games any more.
No more games. They should have been happy. They should have taken advantage of their forced clossness. Held each other and learnt that the gypsies were just wisps of smoke. Who would float by, writing messages in strange exotic curls.
[Written from the perspective of the quiet old woman in Ko to tamo peva]