339 and the other 45

The shops passed, the streets glowed
The jam started and the traffic slowed
The greying air and the smile-less faces
A bus that went through 45 places
She’d got in at 3 and sat on her own
A nomad in her thoughts on her window-seat throne
The people were a blur and the music up loud
A glance or two to the filling crowd
The sleep took over, the tunes were a mash
The conductor asked 50 others for cash
A jolt in the bus thanks to the speed bump below
She woke up disgruntled from her steel window-bar pillow
The rush increased and they climbed in, in bunches
She didn’t even have the smallest of hunches
When the boy with the earphones got in from the back
With glasses, and thoughts and a heavy back-pack
He stared at the people who lined up ahead
From 6’3” all he saw were 51 other heads
None seemed to budge, and none seemed to move
He’d gotten in at 25 and had to get off at 42
The music in his ears was playing only off and on
In a BEST 339, the signal’s always gone.
So he wriggled to his pocket and put off the FM
And for those 60-odd seconds he could now hear them.
He heard the horns and he heard them talk
They cleared a little up front and a foot ahead he walked
He started his mp3 and a smile appeared
As the junction passed and the signal cleared
3 feet from her was where he stood
As far from the seated as he possibly could
At 39, they got off like they all lived together
The ones in the bus could breathe a little better
That’s where he found an empty seat
Next to curly hair and tapping feet
That moment she felt a change in the air
She opened her eyes and found him there
He looked for a stunned moment at her
And they looked away, like it didn’t really matter
He stared single-mindedly, not moving an inch
When the bus tilted and elbows touched, she flinched
They didn’t hear the words playing in the other’s head
They heard the conductor say 42 instead
He got up slowly and kept a straight face
Hers too, but a shivering smile you could trace
At 42, he got off, not believing his luck
She on the other hand, knew that lightning had struck
A feeling they hadn’t expected to turn up for years
And the song played in two different sets of ears
“There may be something there that wasn’t there before”
And with a redder face, she got off at 44.

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