Every time the smell of leather filled his nostrils, he remembered that incident on the bus. He was well aware why he had associated this pungent smell of processed skin with a means of transport. It was all because of the new leather bag the woman sitting on the front seat held full of pride that so dominantly inflicted its scent onto his subconscious. Whatever the case, despite the churning of his stomach every time that smell encountered his nose, he could not help but smile as he recounted that particular episode.
It was a day he was heading off for the airport for a business trip. He had scheduled his parting time from the town promptly, in order to arrive at the departure lounge with plenty of time to spare. There was always some unexpected adventure to happen on the way. It was bound to occur with his peculiar strand of luck.
And it did.
Once on the bus, he presented the driver with 1.5 times the amount for the ticket, as he did not have the precise change. The driver searched his pockets, his fanny pack, his side-lockers to find the right amount of coins to give back. All the while, our traveler waited, trying to hold on and not go sliding down the bus aisle due to the clumsy driving that was taking place at the same time. That is right where the woman with the pungent leather bag was sitting. He remembered it precisely because she wore a huge black hat with a black feather sticking out on the right side, and he recalled wondering what on earth was in that bag that could actually fit the crocodile out of whose skin it was made.
The bus reached the next stop and the driver was still frantically searching for change. He turned round and asked the passenger sitting behind him if he had some cash. Then he asked the traveler for some too. The traveler remained dumbfounded. If he had the cash, would he not have given the exact change needed in the first place and avoided this commotion?
Change was finally found and deposited in the traveler’s hand. Now all that remained was the ticket.
“Hold on. It’s not that simple”. The driver seemed confused and in disarray. So was the traveler. What on earth was going on?
At the fourth stop since the traveler had embarked, the driver got out of his cabin, took a ticket, validated it in the machine, tore it in half and gave one end to the traveler and the other to the old man sitting behind the driver. “I’ve run out of reduced-price tickets, so you’ll have to share one,” he said as he calmly returned behind the wheel and continued his shabby driving, satisfied he had sorted it all out.
The traveler gazed at his half-ticket in amazement. This was a first. But, he simply took his bag and moved a bit further down the leather-smelling front to finally sit down for the rest of the bumpy ride.
Even after disembarking from that bus, he could still smell the leather bag right until he entered the shower later that evening at his foreign destination. He had also kept the half-ticket. Just in case no-one believed him when he recounted this story.
Also part of Daily Prompt: Smell You Later