He sat there on the first seat of the bus, right next to the door. I saw him even as I fumbled my way up the steps into the bus, files in one hand, big bag in another, head inclined to keep my sunglasses from falling off.
It was full. The bus, it was full. Hmph! I didn’t mind standing on the bus, reminded me of my own college days, even so “hmph!” I didn’t want to actually fall with him watching, you know. Oh no, I didn’t know him. In fact, I wondered how I’d never seen him on this regular route. But, I still didn’t want him to see me be my clumsy self.
I saw the vacant spot near the gear stick, next to the driver. On the floor of the bus. I dusted the spot and sat down. I could now face him for the next 20 minutes! But more importantly, I would seem so cool, not shy of sitting on the bus floor and all. I giggled my 16-year-old giggle – don’t worry guys, it was only inside – the internal giggle.
The bus started. I got my phone out, I had to seem nonchalant of course. Couldn’t sit there staring at him just because I wanted to, right? I went back to what I was doing on my phone, the last time I was on it – trying out various “silence my phone” apps that would sync with my calendar, to turn the “silent” mode on whenever I had an calendar event marked “busy”. Some people play games, I try out apps, deal with it.
As I went about my business, “Search → Download → Try → Uninstall → Repeat”, I could sense his appreciative eye on me. “Peeping Tom, you!” I said. In my mind, guys, in my mind. Why would I want him to be conscious? It was interesting that he was interested.
His look at my phone said, “wow, someone does stuff other than WhatsApp on their phone!” I could tell exactly what he was thinking from the way I felt he looked at my phone. My eyes were of course, focussed on the phone.
“Madam, your bus-stop!” said bus kaka. Oh oops, I must be looking cute as I fumble to get my things together. I got up. He got up too. Our sunglasses met.
I didn’t know if I should panic or smile at this thought. Could he sense my thoughts, like I could his, through our sunglasses?
Both of us wondered if we wanted to bump into each other or not, the next time we visited the school. Thankfully for now, off we went our ways, our kids’ report cards tucked in our arms
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