Against the Glass

The occasional lurching stop of the bus bumped his head against the glass. With the arm of his sweatshirt he’d reach up and wipe his nose in his sleep. You could hear the pounding of some kind of rock music from his earphones from several seats away. The conductor came around checking tickets, and the young man produced a wrinkled paper day pass from his pocket. His eyes were tired, and bloodshot, but were soon shut again as the train chugged out of the station into the tunnels downtown.

As a woman gets up to leave, she gives a compassionate, almost motherly look down at the man slightly snoring against the glass. She worries for him, imagining him having to be woken by the same conductor at the end of the line. Having missed his stop – he’d walk slowly and with great effort to the opposite platform and wait for the train going the other way. This time forcing himself to stay awake.