Bus Romance

Oct. 19, 2015

I’ve noticed something on on my pre-dawn commute. I’d always seen these two people separately and then at some point they started sitting together in a very familiar way. I was jolted when I noticed. BUS ROMANCE??

He is a VERY handsome and well-kept black man in fluorescent safety coveralls that looked stylish on him. He looked clean cut. Dapper. He did something in construction, I overheard at some point later. She’s white and looks twelve years older than him, but who knows. She keeps herself together somewhat, but she’s a bit chunky and stuck in the 1990s. She has long lank hair and is a little jowly and sallow. She wears headbands and hoop earrings and leggings and short skirts and boots. She leans toward black clothes and accessories. She’s top-hefty and flat-assed. Pretty eyes.

The third time I saw them get on the bus and sit down together, I decided I was being some kind of racist against him or snide against her to feel surprised. Surely they were a married couple, had been this whole time, and I had only noticed them separately before. Now their schedules had shifted so they ride the bus together. That’s all.

But yesterday they came in and sat right behind me and I heard them talking. First off, I should say that I have no moral high ground. This happened a few times to me back when I rode the 5 bus. High jinks ensued. But maybe because I *had* been there, I felt wracked by self-consciousness on this pair’s behalf. But she didn’t seem self-conscious at all. And I was surprised by how little they still seemed to know each other. She was asking him if he gets a lunch break, and where exactly his work site was, and saying maybe she’d walk the baby down there some time (what baby?) (baby at a construction site?). She asked if he had a picture of his daughter. “I just want to see if she’s as cute as her daddy,” she said. Her voice was loud, a little clotted. Deep and nasal at the same time. His minimal, measured responses seemed smoothly relaxed, self-contained. It read like someone pranked the drama geek into thinking that the quarterback liked her. But he was participating in it, whatever it was.

She got off a few stops before him. I watched her go, a little flounce in her step, and then I turned and looked at him. I just couldn’t quite resist. In another mode, at another time, I would have looked a little brazenly, maybe. A little archly, or humorously, or flirtatiously. But as it was, I was just a frowzy white business casualty in smudgy glasses, glancing owlishly at a handsome black man. He looked back at me with a look as flat as the back of your hand.

October 27, 2015

The lovebirds sat down right in front of me. I couldn’t hear anything they said over the engine this time. I also couldn’t see them too well. They were perpendicular to me and a step down, with a partition between us. So I could just see the top of her head, and more of his head beyond her, and I could see her foot out in the aisle. I could see how slim her ankle was, how boldly patterned her stockings were, and how she kept snapping her shapely foot in and out of a black ballet flat. It was undeniably sexy. Other than that I just caught the tone of her deep clotted voice without being able to hear the words. Occasionally I caught a glimpse of her blunt, stocky fingers as she touched her hair. She was wearing too much perfume and it made my eyes water. He just looked debonair as ever in his bright work gear. Everything in his body language and eyebrows was self-contained and self-assured. He seemed warm without giving too much away. He caught me watching him watching her leave the bus. He glanced over at me. I looked away too quickly, like someone caught red-handed.

October 30, 2015

When they got on the bus, she strode down the aisle ahead of him, wearing a fetching, form-fitting black leather jacket with a diagonal zipper across her torso. She looked luminously happy.

November 9, 2015

I don’t pay too much attention to them anymore, but this morning I heard her say to him “text me later, sweetheart” as she got off the bus. When I got off a couple of stops later, minding my own business, the man smiled at me. He intercepted my gaze as I passed, and confronted me with a smile and a “Good morning.” Almost as if he’d been watching me.

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