They sat side by side on the long bus ride to the edge of town without realizing they were both headed to the same party. He noticed her. Saw that whatever she was reading on her phone held her attention the whole ride out. She was knee-deep into “Middlemarch”, consuming the lucid and unsparing prose twelve dwarfed lines at a time. She noticed him. Noticed he was sorting through the music files on his phone, listening fifteen seconds tops to each song before either deleting it or moving on to the next file. They chuckled each to themselves when they exited at the same stop and walked cautiously single file until they both made a right at the same address. The party, a housewarming, was neither memorable nor insufferable. Towards the end of the night, when others piled into their cars and drove off, the two shared a smile. She left before him and waited for the bus back to town. When it finally arrived, she made the bus driver wait while he sprinted the final block. The two sat as before, but this time their smiles were a bit looser. They fell into easy conversation, comparing their impressions of the evening mingled with a bit of personal history. The long ride was their friend, giving them the time they needed to each launch a trial conversational balloon and see where it landed. But when they finally reached the end of their trip, they still hadn’t exchanged names or numbers. Maybe they were either shy or too cool or both. Hard to say.
February 18, 2014
by Lee Eiferman