Short breaths caught in her lungs as the bus pulled away from the station. She'd missed it. With a curse she dropped her heavy suitcase to the floor, and seemingly in slow motion watched the latch hit the kerb and catapult across the road. A hairdryer, underwear, lipstick, European currency spilled onto the hot tarmac of the forecourt. She sat on the case and let herself cry a little, tears mingling with sweat on her face.

Passers-by watched as she collected her belongings and hauled them to the plastic benches by the ticket booth. She took out a pack of cigarettes and lit up. As smoke congealed in the still air and dust she sighed, and it seemed to deflate her. Hair hung over her face, the glow of the cigarette end barely visible. Her high heels dangled from her feet showing the blisters underneath. She sat there for a time and then slowly, as if she had melted to the chair, she pulled herself upright.

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