I first met Ruth on a bus. I watched her pull her small, wheeled suitcase onto the bus, lift it onto the luggage stand and remove her backpack before she sat down.
She looked neglected, not in a haven’t-had-a-shower-for-days way, but more in a it’s-only-me-so-why-bother-about-how-I-look way . Later I would discover why. But for now let’s just go with that.
She wore walking boots, slightly creased, lightweight “outdoor” trousers and a dark blue sweatshirt featuring a Scottish logo and Edinburgh emblazoned across it.
We began to talk…about the weather initially (well we are British!) as it was, finally, sunny and warm. After the long, long wet Winter and Spring everyone was delighting in the sun.
She told me she was hoping to catch the bus to Whitby once she left this one. I asked her if she had been before.
“No…never…but it’s somewhere I have always wanted to visit. The lure of Dracula and seafaring folk and old fishermen’s tales is pulling me!”
She was friendly and open but something in her words sounded despondent, alongside her obvious delight for where she was heading.
Before Whitby she had been to Newcastle and was heading for York from Whitby.
At this point I didn’t realise her reason for her travelling, but she did let me know that a little over a year ago her husband of 38 years had died quite tragically in a car accident, on a foggy Winter’s night on the A1. We talked about family, jobs, homes and favourite places for the hour we shared a bus, then just as I was about to get off the bus she asked if she could keep in touch.
I said yes.