Occasionally, when you travel by bus as much as I do, you’ll recognise the same vehicle. Maybe it’s the posters on that slanty bit of ceiling-wall, or maybe it’s something else entirely like the fact the seats are so uncomfortable you couldn’t allow prisoners to sit on them under the terms of the Geneva Convention. You know, little things.
Or maybe it’s the moth.
Today it was the moth.
Earlier on this week, as I was getting off the bus there was a massive moth banging against one of the windows towards the front of the bus. I was the last person off the bus, and as I walked past it I thought I should have caught it and removed it from the bus. You know, as a kindness, before it was subjected to some horrible youth crushing it to death or something.
But I didn’t.
And, in all honesty, I felt quite bad about it.
Today, I get the bus and it’s got the same bloody moth on it. It’s still on the bus some four or five days later. It’s still flapping about, it’s still trying to get out of the bus. It’s been living on the bus for the best part of a week, something I used to feel I had been doing on my hellish commutes to and from Leeds in my old job.
What I found weird, though, was that it was like it was there for me. And I for it. As I moved down the bus to my preferred seat – midway, raised up a bit – it flew up from those very seats. I sat down, put my ticket in my wallet, and it flew back to the seats and was meandering around the back and top of the seat directly in front of me.
I looked at it, bemused, but it was clearly the same moth from the other day. But I did nothing with it.
And then I started thinking that I should free it. That a bus was no place for a moth. That it should be free, spreading its wings outside. Enjoying life. Not stuck on a First Bus in Huddersfield.
It flew off for a bit and flapped around some seats further in front, where some other people sat. As it did this I began to fear for its life, worried that they would react badly as it flew past and deal it some sort of death blow. But that did not come to pass and it returned to my seat where it, basically, waited on the window, as though it was asking me to catch it and release it.
I mean, if it was asking me, it didn’t make it easy.
It took three goes to get it safely within my hands, as though the first couple of times it was like, “Nope, not ready…” and slipping from my grasp.
But the third time I had it. Grasped in my balled hands, it settled. So I was now on a bus with a moth in my hands. Great move.
Luckily, I was near enough to the window to put it outside. Which I did. And I immediately lost it. I didn’t see it fly away. I hoped it hadn’t just tumbled from my hands onto the road surface, or that the turbulence – the bus set off from a stop as I was mid-freeing – smashed its moth body into the body of the bus.
I was a little sad at that point.
And then at the next stop, I saw it take flight. It flew past my window. I’d like to think it was a gesture of thanks, but I have anthropomorphised this moth enough already.
But I felt better for the whole thing, anyway.