12 January 2011

Headphones

As the bus across the street pulled away, the girl shifted her feet in the chilly January afternoon. It was supposed to snow that night. Time always seemed to drag on between one bus to the next, and the cold made time almost immobile.

Snow, snow, snow.

Her flushed fingertips clasped a thermos full of chamomile.

I should take out my gloves.

Finally, the bus crawled to a halt in front of the queue of shivering commuters. Everyone shuffled in to its inviting warmth and empty seats. Any hope of small talk, however, was drowned out by her music. She sat down and checked her phone.

11:20. Right on time.

To pass the time, she people-watched. One of her favorite things to do is create stories of the strangers around her. He’s waiting for someone or she just broke up with her boyfriend who cheated on her. However, a face she thought she recognized caught her off guard. Time, it seemed, really did stop. Two blinks, and it flowed once more. He took the seat across the aisle. Side glances. The bus lurched forward. She buried her face in a book; he fiddled with his music player, and stared aimlessly at the passing scenery. Black Audio-Technica headphones rested on top of his navy blue beanie.

He must be an Audio guy.

As her stop was approaching, they shifted their backpacks at the same moment. A crazy thought whirled around her head when they both exited the sliding doors.

No way.

He kept her pace four steps behind. They stood side by side at four intersections. One of her favorite songs shuffled to play, and she tapped her boots on the cold pavement. Glancing over, he too was tapping his feet. She caught his reflection in several store windows on her way to school.
Is he smiling?
They reached the campus. Morning classes just ended, and students spilled out of the doors. She turned around for one last look, but he was already gone.

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