Sunday, August 31, 2008

BUS STORY # 97 (Freshman)

He’s definitely high school. Even without the clothes, you can tell from the body language. I’m guessing freshman.

He’s got a burr with white walls high and wide. Not a military cut. No cap.

No cap.

He’s wearing a black nylon T-shirt that looks dark, dark blue when the sunlight hits it through the window. He’s wearing big and baggy and brand new dark blue jeans. White, white shoes poke out from under the denim bunched up around his ankles. The shoes have 2 gold stripes each, one running from the big toe along the inside of the shoe, one from the little toe along the outside. He’s got a pendant, but it’s small and dark and my eyes can’t make it out.

He’s sitting in the two-seater bench facing the aisle in the flex part of the bus. Across from him are two girls (definitely high school) who are carrying on with each other and with a guy further back in the bus and not at all with our guy sitting right there across from them. They don’t give him a look. When they get off, he waits till they’re out the door, then quickly shoots across the aisle and sits where they were sitting.

Between stops, he stands up and pulls his shirt up just above the waist. His jeans are riding several inches below dark plaid boxers. He looks it all over, adjusts and readjusts the jeans until he’s satisfied with how the boxers display. Then he reaches under his shirt and pulls down the bottom of a white undershirt. He pulls this down over the top of the jeans. Then he adjusts the bottom of his black T-shirt so that just the right amount of white is showing below the black. He surveys himself for a minute or so after each adjustment.

When he sits back down, he pulls a lighter out of his pocket. It’s one of those red plastic butane jobs. He palms it, looks up and down the aisle, then leans forward like he’s gonna tie his shoe laces. He flicks the lighter, shielding it from the driver’s view with his hands. Then he starts burning the cuffs of his jeans. He works quickly, in short bursts. I have no idea what he is doing. My best guess is he’s burning off loose threads.

He hurriedly finishes, and slips the lighter back in his pocket. And that turns out to be the end of the show. He has no books, no book bag, no backpack, but he’s now ready for school. I leave him there on the bus two stops later.


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