Mr. Slickback on the Bus

I made eye contact with an Indian guy across from me and he gave me one of those uh oh, here comes trouble eyes. The man coming on the bus was dark skinned, the whites of his eyes having a glow of its own. When he sat down on the opposite side of the bench seat, his black JanSport (that was the shit in middle school, right?) about to burst at the seam almost touched my jacket sleeve. He didn’t smell as bad as I thought he would. The whole time he kept looking forward towards the road. His hair was dry and slicked back, reaching past his ears; an all around light grey with thin strips of white showing through.

A blonde bobbed woman climbed onto the bus after him wearing a lime green hoodie. She put in coins right away and the bus driver was trying to explain that it was a free bus. “I just got off the plane,” I heard her say through my earbuds.

The bus driver ripped and handed a free bus pass, a paper slip, to the woman and she gratefully accepted. Mr. Slickback got up right away and she took his spot, her weight shifting the center of the bench to her side. She carried two stuffed recycled bags and other carryon luggage. I was surprised to see wrinkles on her face. Then she looked up at Mr. Slickback with a gleam in her eye, and softly said, “Thank you.” I felt a small wave of shame.

The man didn’t say anything and made his way to the front of the bus. He wore navy blue winter gloves that clashed with his olive jacket. He had these delicate, slender wrists. It looked funny in contrast to his oversized gloves and clothes. What and where are your eyes seeing?



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