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As the bus shook and rattled along the road, she laid her head wearily against the window and stared out at the grey scenery as it flew by.

The weather matched her mood; cold, wet and miserable. She watched dirty water fly up in great waves as the bus surfed through puddles, and sighed.

Yet another long, draining day of sitting behind a desk filling out reports and generally being unappreciated.

Another lunchtime of being ignored.

Another five o’clock watching everybody else head off to the pub without inviting her, and another trip on the same shaky, rattly bus filled with strangers.

She was so lost in her reverie that she nearly missed her stop, jumping up and pressing the button just in time.

“Thank you,” she said, trying to ignore the disgusted expression of the surly bus driver. It was the same guy every day, and she had never seen him smile, heard him say anything polite to a customer, or stop for somebody who’d forgotten to wave. She still said thank you every day, hoping in vain for some sign of humanity from him.

It was raining harder now, and she trudged along the pavement with her head down against the wind, cold rain seeping through her coat and soaking through her shirt. She didn’t see the lorry until it plunged into the puddle beside her, soaking her to the skin from head to foot.

She stood there for a moment, dripping, tears starting in her eyes from the shock and the cold, then resignedly trudged onwards.

Her hand was shaking as she put the key into her door and pushed it open.

There was a sound like miniature thunder, and she dropped her keys on the table and crouched down.

Her puppy bounded towards her, eyes sparkling, ears flapping, tail wagging so hard that his whole body undulated.

She smiled. Despite everything, she smiled.

© Kari Fay