2005-10-04 11:23:00 ET|
The day was a solitary, lonesome realization to what his life was about. Each day, the strange man claimed his foretold seat on the bus. The ride was close enough to death. The man did not have a job, nor did he have a destination. Day after day, he rode the bus from its first stop to its last, back to his point origin again. The man continued this pattern every day for almost eight years. There was not a soul who knew where the man was going, or where he had been. Not even the bus driver dared to question his strange inhabitants.
He wore a black fedora worn through with holes on top; a crisp black t-shirt, new each day; an old pair of denim jeans with the oddest patching job ever witnessed. On his feet rested a deep black pair of sneakers. The laces were a putrid shade of violet. Wrapped around the manís wrist was a stained gray shoelace in a knot at the tips.
His alarm permeated his mind as it screamed for him to wake up. Its face read exactly 4:38 am. The man would never set his alarm at an even number; it always had to be off somehow. Again, he did not have a reason for the peculiarity. It just was. As the alarm clock sung its sweet repercussions, the man flopped his damaged hand on the old mahogany night table searching for the snooze button. In a failure, the man lifted his heavy blankets from his body and floated out of bed. The alarm still sounding; it was not 4:42 am exactly. He finally turned off the pulsating noise.
Across from the mans bed stood a metal clothes rack holding his black hat, wrinkled jeans, and a smooth plastic bag protecting his perfectly pressed black t-shirt. Stripping his pale white body of only a wrinkled t-shirt, the man stood naked before the clothes rack. He turned to his left where a dresser no taller than his hip sat against the wall. Pulling open the top drawer, he revealed a neat pile of black boxers. Each was folded to symmetrical perfection side by side. The man stood in front of the dresser staring into the open drawer. He rested one hand upon the ledge of the drawer, and the other, he launched into the open casket of boxers. He pulled out a pair and slid them. The man then replaced the captured with a yellow sticky note from the stack on his dresser. The man closed the drawer and returned to his post in front of the metal clothes rack. With his left hand grasping onto the silver bar above him, he placed his right hand onto the hangar that held his jeans. The man pulled them off the hangar and slid them up his stark white legs. He continues with each garment consecutively. Last in the order was the destroyed black fedora, which he kept on a shelf on the chipped painted walls next to him. With careful execution, the man lifted the fedora off its shelf as if it were made of a priceless silk. His dry and brittle fingers held the hat lightly as he put it on his head. The man then moved a step back from the shelf on which the hat was and adjusted it upon his head. The man had spidery wisps of brown hair protruding from every angle. Without bothering to tame his tangled mess of hair, the man turned to face his unmade bed. He slowly rested his weight upon each knee and bent over as in prayer beside his bed. He slipped his hands over the white spiny carpet until his arms were fully under the beds brown frame. When the manís arms reappeared from the jaws of woodwork, he was holding a small wooden box covered in locks. In his left hand, there was a silver chain containing almost fifty keys. One by one, each key was slid into a lock, releasing it. The clock now read exactly 5:07 am. The man opened the box and revealed stacks of one-dollar bills. He removed three perfectly preserved bills with his right hand, folded them in half, and buried them deep into his right pocket.
The outside air was dancing with the promise of rain, and the wind ran its fingers over the mans rough cheeks. The man stood at the side of the road, observing each car passing by. To himself, he spoke the colors of the cars that passes him by, ďred, blue, red, tan, tan, white, beige, red, blackÖĒ He repeated this series of memorization until his white giant of a bus began to move and the man streamlined to a seat. He resided on the left hand side, five spaces from the back. The rear filled to capacity bus silently reserved this seat for the man.
The seat itself was a black faux-velvet base with multi-colored diamonds spotting that fabric. The green, pink, blue and yellow shapes were worn at the bottom and lower back of the seat. The headrest was a knobby gray fabric tattered to reveal the musky yellow foam incased within it.
As the man approached his final resting area, gasps and whispers fled from the occupied seats. Regardless of the rumors, the man proceeded to his seat. He slid sideways into the seat and sat down at the exact moment the white giant started moving from the curb. The man leaned his body to the right and rested his head on the window. Buildings passed by in dances of hysteria. Cars trembled in the sight of this bus, and trees bowed in renewals of awe as the bus blew past them. The manís eyes were locked onto the speeding yellow lines in the middle of the road; he followed them as if they were his lifelines. The man sat with his head upon the window and eyes concentrated on that yellow line for the duration of the ride.
It was a creamy midnight blue outside, and the full moon blanked the lowly black asphalt in decadent white light. The bus doors opened its grasp, and the man stepped out removing his broken cap. He hesitated for a brief moment, and observed the moonlight landscape. He took a gasp of exhaust before he ignited his journey home.
Since the man did not have another mode of transportation other than his bicycle, he cared for it as if it were his child. He kept it locked up on a street pole next to his bus stop. He unlocked the scratched red bike and swung his left leg over the seat of it. The mans bike was almost as much of a fortress as his beloved seat on the bus. His bike chains clicked as he peddled the mile and a half back home.
His front door was a rusty white frame in which rested a black flimsy screening. With his right hand grasping the clod metal bike handles, he pushed open the dilapidated screen door with his left.