Each weekday morning, I walk three avenues west to the bus stop. I catch the bus to work. No more subways. Not since the middle of June – sticky summer. Fall came to us this week, and though the weather verges on chilly, I think my bus habit will continue through winter.
Summer, though wonderful at times, was dominated by heat rare encountered in Hawai’i where it always warm, but more importantly, full of breezy trade winds. There was something awful in waking to a slight tinge of sweat, piling on business attire, lugging a heavy briefcase down five flights of stairs, and then down two more to the train. To wait at the subway platform with glistening beads of summer heat trailing down your skin.
In the tangle of heat, the bus, with chilly air conditioning, and no need to go underground, is glorious. Granted it is much slower than the subway, but waking early enough to account for lost time is a fair trade-off. After taking the same route at the same time for enough days you run into the same people over again. Some you see on Monday and Thursday, others only on Friday, but one individual I see every single morning.
On certain days he waits at my bus stop, and yet on others I find him in the very back, already seated, quite comfortably, by the time I get on. I’m guessing he lives somewhere between my stop and the stop before. My stop is second on the bus route.
He is burly with one pierced ear and a ring on his left hand. A gold ring with a purple stone. Today it was purple. Yesterday was green. The day before, black. I do not recall colours of days prior, but I feel justified to concluded that it surely not purple, green, nor black.
We somehow end up sitting next to each other in the back of the bus. I used to sit in the middle of the bus. But one day, when I boarded with a friend, he led me to the very back even though the bus was completely empty that evening. I inquired, “why the very back?” And he said it was polite, and that one, if young and in relatively good health, should leave not just the front, but also the middle for others.
Now I always sit in the back of the bus. Ingrained habit, I suppose.
Well, tomorrow is Saturday, and the day after is Sunday. On Monday morning I must check for the colour of his ring. I hope it will be blue.