Mona sits by the window of the school bus peering out through the mist at the school looking for Lisa. She muses on the kiss in the gym changing room that morning; two more lately on the misted-covered playing fields; the way she was held; the touch of lips on lips, flesh on flesh; ashes to ashes dust to dust. The dampness. The taste of peppermint and tobacco, the second and third at least. Lisa Logan. Lisa Logan. It becomes a mantra, a song almost. Lisa the lips. She smiles. Moves her finger across the glass pane to see clearer. None there. Damned mist; like sitting on the edge of hell peering down into the dark depths.
Michael O'Brien moves in beside Mona; his face a balloon of mischief.
- Get yer backside elsewhere, O'Brien.
Mona pushes his lard backside outwards to the aisle. The boy smirks; his grin monkey-like.
- Didn't want to sit there anyways.
O'Brien moves off and backwards; his laughter nauseous. His voice carrying over the seats like a shocking smell; his visage remaining in Mona's mind as she peers once more through the mist. Idjit. Smelly pox-ridden fool. She wraps her dress under legs to keep out the draft from the open door of the bus; feels the damp air rising by her ankles. Two months now since we met, since came from Lough. That first morning here on the bus; the first to speak; the first to be friendly. Then the kiss. Blessed amongst the blessed. Mother of God, what a shock; what a kiss.
Lisa hurries through the corridor towards the exit. Sister Bridget knows I've the bus to catch; knows I've to be here on time. Damn her bible-ridden hide; may her rosary choke her in her sleep. The seven deadly sins. Only got five of them, kept me in to remember the other two, as if it matters. Wouldn't have got those if I'd not practiced them often enough. Sin on sin; flesh on flesh. The kiss. The kisses. The mist covered fields. Who'd be a nun? Who'd be that if they'd life in them, despite what the auntie Kathleen says?
All the praise she pours on them, as if they walked the narrow path to the heavenly without wandering from it on occasions or so. She dashes through the exit towards the bus mist surrounding and over, the driver peering, his huge nose against the glass, his lips moving in some Gaelic curse or two.
Mona sees Lisa come out of the mist like an angel through the gates of purgatory. Such a sight for the eyes; a sight for the soul, too; a sight to warm in this damp squid of an afternoon. Brushes her palm over the seat beside her; feels the rough surface; sees the grey material. Jeers of, get a move on, and such like, rain through the air as Lisa approaches; slides into the seat beside her?and smiles.
- The bitch Bridget. She knows and does it nonetheless.
-? I thought maybe it was she.
- I'd be in confession for a week for what I thought of her and what I'd do to her if left alone with her in some dark alley.
Lisa removes her coat; places it neatly over their legs. Brushes it smooth to remove the creases.
- Mist still clinging. Like the snot on old Sister Mary's nose.
Mona smiles. Exhales nervously.
Lisa moves closer; touches Mona's hand beneath the coat. Feels the flesh; chilled; rubs to warm.
- Did you see it? Shame to laugh so. Age and age.
Mona nods. Wants the hand to rub and rub until heat comes more and more.
- She's kind though. More than some.
- Sure she is. She held me once when my granddad died and I was filled with tears and upset.
Lisa moves her hand to the thigh and gently moves it up and down. She'll not mind. Get the cold from her. See, she smiles more so. Another hand touches hers. They weave together and clutch. Finger over finger; thumb feeling itself through.
- Hands are cold.
Whispers, words, looking at each to each.
- Yours, too.
Mona looks at the coat; the green raincoat; school colour. She feels the touch along her thigh now. Soft, gentle, motherly in its way of moving as if to heal.
- I said to the Bridget, I've a bus to catch. However, she wasn't listening, or didn't want to.
Lisa moves closer still, arm-to-arm, thigh to thigh. Undercover of the coat; warmth. How far to go; one step at a time. Davy Collins and his dammed hands. That was some night that was. Da would've choked him of life and limb, so he would.
- The O'Brien boy tried to get in here.
- Hope you gave him the thumb off.
- Gave him the push.
- Rightly so, too. He's a stink to turn the pope himself green.
Mona sniggers; clutches the hand tight; gives a squeeze.
- Be watching out for Collins, he a mucky hand if ever there was one.
- I know him. His da works with mine.
Lisa looks around at the bus passengers. The noise; the voices; the smell of bodies too close together. All these know nothing of the kiss. The kiss. Sounds mysterious, like some painting by Klimt, I've seen in that book in the library in town. She turns to peer out of the window. The mist hanging still. Her hand feeling my thigh now; tension there; uncertainty.
- Can I come to tea of Sunday?
Mona smiles; nods. Holds her hand away from the thigh; places it in her own lap.
- If your ma and da can be putting up with me.
- They'll not be having a problem with you.
- Have you spoken of me? That's a bad move, my angel. Talk of me is poison to relationships I learnt.
Mona stares; bites her lower lip; looks out of the window. Sees the reflection of Lisa behind her. Image of beauty; beauty solidified. Her hand hesitates in her lap. Her eyes follow the image behind. Takes in the eyes, the movement of lips. Turns to see the real Lisa, the eyes gazing, the lips open a small part, revealing white teeth.
- We can go to the lake.
- What lake's this?
-? Nearby. We can sit and talk. Be alone.
Lisa smiles. Goes in search of the hand and thigh again.
Feels the warmth; the skin rubbing against skin; until death; until kiss; until…
- The mist may never clear.
Lisa smiles again as she says this. Wants to remain like this. Ad infinitum.