The 199 stops at the lights beside Mole Hill, as we used to call it, opposite Warringah Road. Harbord Road veers off to the left, stretching into the distance, and in that distance a figure is running hard towards us through clusters of freshly-released high school students. The lights hold, the bus waits and the running figure powers closer, resolving into a white-shirted, black-skirted schoolgirl with bouncing backpack and a bottomless reserve of determination.
She crosses the narrow lane with a glance to the right and stands beside us, champing, forced by the very same lights to wait when she needs to run. Then the bus is off again and so is she, running and running, glancing quickly as the bus draws level and pulls away. The stop is only just ahead and the driver must slow down and let her on but he doesn’t. He accelerates. The stop flashes past and we don’t even get a final glimpse of the running girl, or witness her reaction.
What does it mean for her, missing this bus?