“The main thing in life is the people you meet on the way.” The voice of the presenter was declaiming this maxim on the radio when, that morning, a pretty little brunette with a generous figure first came through the double doors on Mo’s bus on route 135. She greeted the driver in a scarcely audible voice, bought a ticket from him, stamped it and sat down behind him. Charmed by this apparition, Mo forgot to activate the indicators of his bus. A scooter only just avoided sliding under his wheels. It was his lucky day.
Every day after that, the young woman sat behind Mo, her head in a novel, never looking up until she reached her destination, the same from Monday to Friday. The more he saw her, the more the driver succumbed. He was enchanted by that timid smile, that cute way of sitting down, in that seat, silently, almost apologetically. Her reserve and her taste for reading made her attractive. And inaccessible to that lonely and spineless bus driver. As time went by, Mo became desperate to get to speak to her. Until that lovely July morning.
That Tuesday, during her daily journey, the young woman received a call. For the first time, she looked up, and, with a startled expression, turned and twisted on her seat. “What?”… “How?”… “But are you sure?” were the scraps of conversation Mo caught. “I’m on my way to Figeac now!” was the last thing she said before hanging up in tears. At the next stop, the driver brought his vehicle to a halt. “Ladies and gentlemen, this service terminates here.” Everybody got off, exasperated. Mo ignored them and kept the young woman back. “Are you going to Figeac in the Lot region? Then so is my bus!” The driver was astonished at his own audacity. She gave him an odd look. Could he be mad? Yet she accepted. Her son had gone missing from summer camp. She had to find him. Even if that meant travelling with this rather crazy oddball.
On the way, to calm the young woman, he put on a playlist of music, gentle at first then more lively. When they arrived, Sybil was relaxed and soon reassured. Her son had been found at the station with his best friend. Mo could not believe his eyes. He had not realised, but his nephew was on holiday at the same camp. Thanks to that happy coincidence, Sybil would never again have any doubts about him. When he looked at her in the bus on the way back, she blushed.
Ever since then, every morning on route 135, you can see a young woman with her eyes focussed on the driver, a look of love on her face. As for Mo, he is sure of it. The most important thing in his life was meeting Sybil in his bus, on that diversion whose route was nevertheless all mapped out.
Translated by Wendy Cross