I like to sit at the very back of the bus, especially during the winter since the engine is back there and the back seat is warm. As I walked past the other passengers I made eye contact with a guy in a dark green coat and a black cap. Was that a flicker of recognition on his face? Did he wonder why I was boarding the bus here?
I walk a lot. It’s a little over half a mile from the bus stop to my house, plus there’s the walk to where I catch the bus. Some days I’ll walk more than a mile and a half from my office to the bus stop. There are nearer stops but unless I can see the bus coming I keep walking. And depending on personal whims I may walk with the traffic—taking me slightly closer to home—or I may walk against the traffic, taking me farther away from home but putting me closer to the oncoming bus. And even when I get to a bus stop and settle down to wait I won’t always sit down. Sometimes I’ll pace back and forth covering who knows how much ground before the bus finally arrives.
It’s just a weird habit. Out on the road I don’t feel like standing still. So I keep walking. The other day I passed a guy sitting at a bus stop. He had on an army jacket and jeans. A cascade of copper dreadlocks spilled from under his cap. He looked up at me as I went by. I wondered if he were waiting for a bus or just resting. Maybe he was out walking too. I continued on for about six blocks and finally hit a point where the stops are so far apart–the next one is on the other side of a long overpass–I was afraid the bus would zip by me before I could get to the stop, so I stood where I was. And then paced around where I was.
The bus arrived and I boarded and as I walked to the back I recognized the army jacket, black cap, and copper dreads. He looked up at me. Was there judgment in those eyes? Did he recognize me, and did he wonder if there was something about him that made me unwilling to share a bus stop with him? I felt so uncomfortable about it I almost said out loud, “It’s not you, it’s me.”