From a Writing Prompt: Write about someone who tells other private things as if they were close friends:
The bus slogged on and on in the soupy traffic. Stop, start, stop, start. Bore, bore, bore.
Until she got on. I’d seen her before. Can’t forget that face; crooked mouth, leaning teeth, and eyes that looked in different directions. I quickly turned my own eyes downward to my book.
“May I sit down?” said a reedy voice and I looked up to see Ms. Cross-eyes. She didn’t wait for an answer but plunked a billion bags down around her, toppling onto my lap, and sighed. I’d heard of rabbit breath before. Or was it rabid breath. Either way, her’s wafted across my nose and was worse than either of those.
“Ooh, my bunions! Been walking so much I’ve got to give them some air. Oh it’s alright, they’ll not smell, deary,” she said to me. “I use Jonson’s foot powder. Helps with the athletes foot you know.” The shoes came off, then the socks, which she laid in her lap and I discovered she lied. The foot powder didn’t work. I delivered a stare out the window.
She did not take the hint, and carried on, poking my arm for my attention. My mother taught me to be polite always, so I turned back to Ms. Cross-eyes when she sighed again. I stopped breathing for a moment.
“Walking too long is tough, what with 3 ingrown toenails and all. But the problem with sitting is my tailbone’s too long, see. Broke it once. Healed wrong. Now if I don’t sit crooked it digs into my–well–you know.” She leaned my way and grinned, hiding her mouth with one hand, whispering. The bus rattled on through a huge puddle and mud water sloshed on my window.
“Then I get constipation. Terrible you know, you don’t go for days and then your stomach explodes with pain when those logs finally start moving down their track. Doc says ‘remember eat lots of fiber and to use your donut cushion or one day you’ll rupture something.’” She leaned yet more my way.
Her foul breath she didn’t have to tell me about, I could smell that myself.
“So how are you this fine day? Isn’t it a treat out there today after that storm yesterday?”
I muttered a “I’m fine.” Well I was until she started her health tirade.
“Me too, me too. I do despise those cloudy days, makes me cough. And all that humidity, makes for a lot, I mean a lot, of phlegm. My throat just clogs up and I gotta clear it all the time, and that makes me vomit. You know, the pressure combined with all the new food allergies I develop constantly. I’ve such a big house, but since I got my late brother’s dog, I don’t worry about making it to a bathroom in time. Did you know dog’s love vomit? Thank goodness they do. It’s not easy at my age to get down on your hands and knees to clean. Well,” Ms. Cross-eyes giggled here, “Actually it’s easy getting down, but not getting up again. Oh the times I pulled my ligaments or tensions or what-you call them, the doctor was threatening to remove my kneecaps! I ask you, does that make sense?”
I shook my head, but said nothing. I’m only 19 what am I supposed to know? Ms. Cross-eyes sighed and sunk her head into the headrest. I did the same, in relief. then her packages tumbled as the bus flew over a bump.
Ms. Cross-eyes straightened them, looked at me, and when she was sure I was only faking sleep, began again, whispering this time. “Have you ever had an oozing green infection in—“
I stood, pulled the bus string, excused myself and got off, tripping over half a million of those bags of hers. I had no idea where I was, but hey, there’s only so much phlegm and ear wax one can take, after all. I’ll walk home.
“To know is nothing at all. To imagine is everything” -Anatole France