Sunday, August 17, 2014

BUS STORY # 406 (An Exchange)

Downloaded from FemSide.

He’s a regular, although I don’t see him regularly. But I’ve seen him enough times over the years to know which route he takes and where he gets off.

Today, I see him get on the Green Line downtown at the ATC. He’s a pretty big guy, with long hair and a long beard, and an enormous backpack that’s seen a lot of wear and tear. Gray baseball cap, and today, a denim work shirt and gray jeans. Boots. Always the boots.

I’ve heard rumors he hikes into the foothills where he camps out. Something about him suggests he has a regular job. It’s an interesting combination.

Today he’s sitting in a seat in front of an exit door, reading. I’m sitting across the aisle from him when I see in my peripheral vision a thin, black-sleeved arm reach down over his shoulder. At the end of the arm is a girl’s hand, and inside the hand is a folded bill.

He looks surprised, and turns to look back at her. It is possible the girl says something to him, but the bus is too loud (or her voice is too soft) to tell. Then he takes the bill, puts it into his shirt pocket, and resumes his reading.

A few minutes later, he puts the book down, reaches over into his backpack, and pulls out a small, thin, brown book which suggests either a collection of Bible verses or else a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution. He turns in his seat and hands it to the girl.

They exchange a couple of sentences I cannot make out, and he returns once again to his book.

When she exits later, there are no goodbyes, no acknowledgments of any kind.

“Drug deal?” asks my wife, when I tell her the story.

“I thought about that, but It just didn’t feel like it,” I tell her. I tell her that, after the girl got off, I really wanted to lean over and ask him what that exchange was all about.

Maybe my wife is right. Maybe I’m just naive. Or maybe I just want a more interesting story than a drug deal on the city bus.

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