A moment from the past. Flash fiction.
Five-thirty p.m., and I am on the bus. New York City is cold, but the many passengers generate heat. I scan the rows for an empty seat. There are none. Men stand round-shouldered in the aisle, and some read newspapers. We sway to the rhythm of Eighth Avenue traffic. I angle past the men and ignore all, except for one. He stoops under a worn gray hat, an overcoat overwhelms his slight body. His dark eyes dart from row to row. They seem to collect more. The bus halts, and a seat opens. The little man moves toward the vacancy. I am closer, and I will have it before him. He grips the overhead bar for balance. He is short, and his coat sleeve slips to his elbow. Faded blue numbers appear on his forearm. They are clear enough. I am motionless as he slides by me. There is room for him to pass, but he steps sideways. He does not look up, and he says nothing.