The teeth tap and the jaw clenches. The skin on the face feels heavy, dragging the eyelids shut. The breaths are shallow and irregular. The neck is tense and the shoulders tight. The stomach alternates from sinking low with despair to rising up with nervous energy. The gut churns and the bowel shudders. The leg jumps up-and-down and the hand placed on it is not strong enough to stop it.
Cars always made her smile with their headlight eyes and grinning grills. Her favourites were the sports cars with the lights that popped up when turned on – she liked to imagine them sleeping when their lights were down, or winking when one was broken.
She really liked buses. They always seemed happy, even when you could see the growling driver through the window. Trains were alright, but her favourites were trams – especially the bendy trams. Different models had different personalities – a lot like the cars. Some seemed a bit stuck up and some more welcoming. Some had even seemed somewhat imposing, but she had never been scared of one until now.
It was dusk and she was walking up Lygon St, just approaching the bend that turns Lygon into Holmes. A tram slunk around, with the screeching and rattling that turns usually caused. The sight of it made her shiver. One headlight was almost broken, and the other slightly dimmed. This wasn’t a wink. Not even a creepy wink. This was a pirate – a scary pirate who loved to kill – with his eye patch over one unseeing eye. She knew it was crazy, but she couldn’t shake the thought the whole way home that the pirate would be back.
It didn’t matter how many internet searches she did, she could not find the meaning of life. She could find information on Monty Python, various philosophic arguments for and against this and that, and a lot of stuff about the number 42, but nothing concrete. Nothing that told her why she had consciousness. She shut down the computer and put on another episode of Sex and the City.