In this fourth installment, Susan Rudy offers glimpses into a story of profound transitions. Moving back and forth between cities and families–her past and her present–during a year of loss, Rudy contrasts the unlikely comforts of public transit with the aseptic silences of driving alone.


Company, and the journey

Susan Rudy, 6 November 2017, London


A feeling of peace overcomes me as I bound up the stairs of the #91 double decker from the
British Library. I love travelling with company on the journey.

In London, I travel on foot, by bus, train, the underground.

It’s a shock to arrive back in Calgary.
Car free.

I could catch a bus from the airport to downtown but my daughters don’t live there.
It’s cold. I’m tired. I head to the Budget Car Rental.

In my vast, pristine car
I feel lonely, bereft, abandoned.
No one to look at
Just me
riding along

I don’t see others
except fleetingly
at stop lights
in lots.
No one
to bump along with
or against
no burps
no languages
no cries
no smells
no humans
no food.

We are each alone
lurching forward
behind metal and glass.

Back in London, we are together, living our lives, going our ways, belonging.

It’s a happy thing to find peace in a city, among others, on my bus, on a journey
that will take as long as it takes. Nothing else to be done.

We settle in, chat to our seatmate, quiet our child, write our poem.

On the bus, this is our journey.

In a car
the journey is
not for us.



Susan Rudy is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London and Professor Emerita of English at the University of Calgary in Canada. With Georgina Colby of the University of Westminster, she curates S A L O N – LONDON, a site for reading and responding to the present through women’s experimental writing. Her public-facing pieces on gender and sexuality may be found in The New Statesman. She has recently returned to writing poetry after a 30-year hiatus.