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The magic of a red bus.

Based on a true story.

By Eva SmittePublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 4 min read
The magic of a red bus.
Photo by Shashank Sahay on Unsplash

The month of May 2024 marked two years since my journey of a bookshop assistant began. And a year since I published the below article about the lessons this job gifted me with in the first twelve months.

This time I thought I’d dedicate more time to documenting its first steps.

But first, a little poetic preface.

Isn’t it interesting how we oftentimes stop acknowledging the beauty of things we are exposed to on a regular basis? No matter how unusual they are. Red London buses are definitely one of a kind, and very much one of the iconic symbols of the English capital. Together with Big Ben, the red phone box, my beloved Tower bridge etc. But I am so used to their presence now, I don’t even notice them most of the time. Unless they get in my way while crossing the street.

And yet, there is one particular London bus I have a lot to thank for. It is not exactly its appearance that prompted me to write this story, although its design has definitely played a role in the turn of the events in the Spring 2022. As you may know, London buses have two levels ; a double decker buses they call them. And of course, a top level allows one to see more. Not exactly a bird’s eye view , but a step closer to it nonetheless.

Back then, I regularly took bus nr 13 to get home. It has to be mentioned that my perception of this number is very different than the superstitions surrounding it in the popular culture. Not only do I not fear it, I am also fascinated by it. And no, it is not as simple as counteracting its reputation by saying that this number is lucky for me. However, I do like to look into things deeper than their face value. And for me this number represents transformation. The story that unfolded one late Spring afternoon two years ago is a fitting reflection of this number’s archetype.

On a sunny day in May 2022, I was sitting at the top level of the above mentioned vehicle, curiously looking around; as despite living in this city for a very long time now, I still find myself in a complete awe of its architecture pretty much on a regular basis. And that day wasn’t an exception, but I also saw something completely new. Something I have never seen before. A building , beautiful and unusual , in a unique style, but more significantly bearing a name that at once made me jump and turn my head to the left as the moving bus was gradually passing it by. “Rudolf Steiner house”. Wait, what? I knew this name quite well, having come across it multiple times in my spiritual/philosophical searchings. But I had no idea that there was a house dedicated to this person in London! I can’t quite put my finger on why it surprised me so much, but perhaps it was the fact that I didn’t know about its existence all these years. This was a Central location after all, and it was obvious that this venue was there for a long time , yet it is almost like it didn’t want to reveal itself to me. Until now.

Months later I will find myself smiling when people would tell me that they have lived in this area for many years, yet have never seen this building before.

Going back to my first encounter with it, I felt an immediate rush of inspiration and the need to act. This is not something that is necessarily in my nature; I usually take my time and analyse, weigh the pros and cons of a new situation , and then overthink some more. This is a self- protective response, that was formed due to life’s experiences. But this time it was different, I had a complete trust that this is a good idea, and is totally safe. Having said that, I didn’t have any negative experiences with the bookshops, quite the contrary, these were the places of empowerment and inspiration. Precisely what I felt that day.

The rest as they say, is history. Fast forward to today, the house and its bookshop became a place where I belong. With soulful people, kind eyes and meaningful conversations. And none of that would have happened if I didn’t take that bus on that day, didn’t sit on the left side of it, didn’t look through its window, and more than anything, didn’t choose to act on the impulse that arose in me. A sliding doors moment kinda thing.

By Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

There is a certain philosophical debate out there, namely free will vs determinism. The proponents of the former believe that we are the ones fully in charge of our lives and are free to make any decisions to change its course, there are no limitations. On the contrary, those who support the latter , believe that everything is predetermined, in a fate kinda fashion. In my opinion, the truth is somewhere in the middle, like with all polarities really. Certain things are destined to happen, other things we make happen. I believe that day and what followed was little bit of both.

I suppose that the most important lesson of this story is to recognise and follow the impulse when it comes from the depths of your soul. In this case it was very easy for me to recognise it, as simultaneously to feelings of surprise, I also felt an enormous inspiration, and a recognition of sorts. It was very obvious that this direction, this path is good for me. More often than not, the voice of our soul isn’t as loud, it is more of a whisper, obscured by a lot louder voices of other parts of us.

Either way, I hope this story inspires you to follow the voice of your soul wherever it leads.

By chan lee on Unsplash


About the Creator

Eva Smitte

Writer, model, mental health advocate. Instagram @eva_smitte

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Comments (1)

  • The Dani Writerabout a month ago

    I enjoyed getting a bus or train day pass and traveling wherever to my heart's content. Following your soul is the path to joy. Ask me how I know...shhhh 😉

Eva SmitteWritten by Eva Smitte

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