Tuesday, August 30, 2011


He is a small man, hardly worth noticing as he makes his way to an empty seat on the bus.

The steps he take are shuffled, weighed by the fatigue of his laborious day job; his punch card flapping carelessly in his side pocket.

His face wore a blank look, no further can he see than his empty bus seat next to the door. His sunken cheeks stands out the most on his weary face, protruding as do every joint on his sickly frame.

He would be refused acknowledgement by the people around him if not for the obvious smell that clung to his cotton polo t-shirt.

To him it is the result of a hard day's work, but for the commute it is a reason to criticize him and look down on the credit that he is due at the end of a long shift.

He ignores them, but turns to his punch card for proof of his usefulness. Large letters carved onto the thick cardboard sheet gives him existence that society refuses to grant.

Narrow gazes from tiny slits steal his dignity one peek at a time - what is his name; where does he work; how long is his shift?

When all they want to know is when he gets off.

His knobby head bounces with the bus, each jerk felt doubly on his starved body. His right hand is scarred, perhaps from work, but it holds strong as he picks up the pen from him pocket to fill in the day's hours.

Carefully he writes, knowing fine well the foreman will ask for a new sheet if he made a mistake. Large clear letters start to populate the empty spaces, and soon he is rewarded with a promise of salary at the end of the working month.

He keeps the punch card, and takes out his mobile phone instead. From the battered device spews songs unrecognized by the people around him.

But there he sits, staring blankly into the lit screen of his Nokia. He listens, now not the insensitive whispers of the more fortunate but to the familiar chords of a place far away.

Above the noise and the prejudice, he presents an avoidance - loud, unbiased music that clears his mind and make him want to stay on the bus.

The screen stays lit, and he looks down at it. The bus moves on, and the people continue to stare.

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