“Final Stop” the driver called from the front.
Lily shook herself from her half-slumber. The bus was empty, always was by the time they reached the last stop. She would know when it was almost time for her stop when the last people got off – the couple who always came home with the tesco bags full of shopping and the young boy who was a few years younger than her at school.
“Thanks,” she said, grabbing her backpack and pulling herself down the bus. She gave a little salute to the driver, Derek, who returned it with a smile. A habit they had, this was his last shift of the day before he took the bus back to the depot.
“You’re welcome missy,” Derek smiled. Lily hopped off the bus, waving as Derek shut the doors and drove the bus off down the road.
She let the sound of the bus dwindle before she began her walk home. Out here, at this time of the evening, it was quiet. Not the silence of the countryside, whatever that would sound like, but there was a distinct lack of fury that echoed through the streets. People took life slower here, the kids cycling along the cul-de-sacs yelling with joy rather than with aggression.
People always wondered why Lily and her mum still stayed here, at the Final Stop. After all, they had only moved here with her Dad’s work, and now he was out in Singapore doing god-knows-what with god-knew-who, there was no reason to stay.
But there was a reason. Lily enjoyed the quiet in comparison to the bustle of the inner city. She could breathe deeply here, allowing the weight of the day to cascade off her shoulders.
And that was reason enough to stay.
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