Copyright is held by the author.
THEY ARE sitting across from each other. She is in her late teens, youth in bloom, skinny jeans and smart shoes, hair in a loose bun. He is in his early thirties, good-looking, unshaven, crew cut, in a sporty outfit, must be hitting the gym before landing in a chair at his desk. She shows an obvious interest in him and I notice it is reciprocal. She glances at him, crosses her legs seductively, casually lets her hair down. He is careful not to stare but does steal a few glances. I take it all in. I can feel the vibes of attraction pulsing. The girl slowly runs her fingers through her hair and slightly pouts her lips, a shiny lip gloss inviting kisses. I can see the muscles of her crossed legs tensing as she bends forward to adjust a shoe. I imagine her excitement from the pressure in a certain spot and the fantasies playing out in her mind.
He is seated next to me, our arms and legs touching slightly as the bus jerks along; I can feel the hunter’s tension. At this moment, there are only three of us in the world; the bus is my oyster.
She was on her cell earlier and I concluded she has a boyfriend. But having caught a curious look from the good-looking man she is instantly alert, waiting for the next move. No doubt a subconscious female instinct to seek out and choose the strongest and fittest — nature’s law of procreation at play. Through my head rush a multitude of scenarios: how she drops her phone and slides off the seat to retrieve it, the bus hits a bump and she is thrown into his lap, blushes innocently; how she gets off the bus and he follows her and I follow them; how I help the two elope.
The man accidentally drops his lunch bag; it lands at the girl’s feet and a Granny Smith rolls out on the dirty rubber floor. As it rolls, in my imagination, we are teleported to the Garden of Eden and I, the serpent, offer the girl the green apple of temptation. She looks at me inquisitively, then slowly brings it to her mouth, takes a bite and the man appears beside her. His eyes are filled with burning desire, his arms roughly embrace her and they kiss passionately. But, alas, the bus hits another bump and the bubble bursts. The Garden of Eden disappears and we are back to the reality of the morning ride: a group of passengers heading to our daily destinations.
The moment is over. Next to the apple on the floor lies a pink note with hearts and “I love you” printed in big bold letters, probably slipped in unnoticed by the man’s wife. The magic is gone. The girl slides off her seat, retrieves the bag, the message, and the Granny Smith and hands it to the man who fidgets, stretches his closed lips in a polite grin, trying to avoid any direct eye with her. Then she is back in her seat, pulling hair into a ponytail and looking slightly annoyed and disappointed.
As she makes her way to the door at the University stop, she glances at him again. She acts like she is in a movie scene — bites her lower lip, adjusts the sweater casually thrown over her shoulders, and tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear. I am totally on her wavelength; I am in the same movie in a supporting role, Oscar nomination without a doubt. I stare at her desperately until she finally catches my eye. I smile at her and nod. In response, she frowns and hurries off the bus, away from the weird woman with an old-fashioned purse. The man did not see our exchange as he was busy texting. I steal a look at the message on the brightly lit screen of his phone, “Did you mean another box of diapers?”