She was taller and a few years older than him, but they looked at each other and smiled when she got on board the bus.
There was an opening by him in one of the in-facing seats at the back of the bus. He moved the bag I had seen him leave on the seat next to him when other riders snorfled around for seats like trained truffle pigs.
But now he put the bag in his lap. She sat next to him.
They traded polite, slim-lipped smiles again.
The bus bumped down Chicago Avenue.
They sat in silence side by side. On one occasion, her lips parted slightly as if to speak. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she was yawning. Maybe she was chewing gum.
Missed Connections. I Saw You. Thousands of sites and columns dedicated to these imagined romances we have in our daily lives, on the bus and in the coffee shops.
Maybe maybe we’re unintentionally giving someone else a little thrill as we wander our routines, our jobs, commutes and errand-running — that’s the hope. We hope our nice new coat made someone’s hearts flutter. We hope we gave someone else’s tedious day a little meaning by mistake.
That cute boy on the ‘L’ never farts in bed or flirts with the waitress. The woman buying coffee in the same line as you never believes in horoscopes or does that thing where every sentence goes, like, up at the end?
They stay perfect because they stay fictional. A flight of fancy can’t hurt us.
Our two lovebirds sitting side-by-side on the No. 66 never spoke. A few blocks down, the man reached up and, without looking at the woman, pulled the cord to be let off at the next stop. The romance stayed only in their minds. Or maybe only in my mind, the imagination of a bored writer creating stranger drama to keep his commute from being dull. I watched the man get up and “Excuse me” his way to the door.
When the man stepped onto the cold sidewalk outside, he turned back to look at the woman. She was looking out the window at him. His lips parted slightly as if to speak.
The bus pulled away.