How Many Zones? The Shame Of It All

Karen Eastland

She smiles in his direction. He looks around to see if she is smiling at him, there is no-one else nearby. Confident that she is smiling at him, he smiles back but does not allow the smile, nor his gaze to linger. A brief smile suggests acknowledgement, a lingering smile might suggest lechery and he is no letch.

The bus begins to come to a slow stop, his stop, and caught up in the idea that she had finally noticed him, he rose from his seat, strolled casually along the slim walkway to the automatic doors. As he reaches the doors, without missing a step, he begins to smile at her once again when all of a sudden he felt himself in free fall.

He caught hold of the cold metal of the handrail and as he tried to right himself, his pen, bus pass and some coinage spilled out of his shirt pocket onto the waiting footpath. He looked around in complete embarrassment and when he caught sight of her smile, it now had a tinge of sorrow and slight embarrassment attached to it.

Standing upright, he existed the bus with the full knowledge that tomorrow he will see her, on the bus, in that seat, near those doors again. But now he wonders if she will ever smile at him again and if she does, will it only be out of pity.

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