Monday, October 27, 2008

A friend on the bus

Patrick and I take the same bus
three days a week
but sit apart.

The first time, I was excited to see him.
Unexpected eye contact,
flash of recognition,
familiar smile,
take the seat beside him,
the usual, cliche questions:
"What are you doing now?"
"How's your family?"
listening with genuine interest
that grows between long-time schoolmates
who have taken different paths.

Subsequent meetings turn challenging,
work hard to keep conversation going,
comments on the weather,
awkward silences,
remembering, unspokenly,
that we were never that close.

The excuses start:
He's busy with school work,
I'm braindead and grumpy in the morning,
and now we sit apart,
avoiding eye contact,
pretending we don't see each other,
reading our books.

But when he holds the door for me
I smile at him
a real smile.
I like you more than ever, Patrick,
now that mutual understanding
has replaced the small-talk.

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