Let’s call him Tom, because the fact is, I don’t know his name. We never introduced ourselves to each other. Back then I used to take public transport to get to work. Tom and I used to get off from the same bus and then wait for a transfer. The next bus used to arrive approximately 8 minutes later. In those 8 minutes, we used to stand near an intersection, at the bus stop. One day we were waiting for the bus and there was no sign of it even after 10 minutes. So I casually asked him, “Do you think we missed the bus?” The bus arrived soon and from the next day, we always spoke for those exact 8-10 minutes. Never any less, never more than that. After boarding the bus he would always move to the end of the bus and I always took the very first seat I found. Somehow we were acquaintances for those 8 minutes. During those 8 minutes he told me about his Christmas plans, that his mother was in an elderly home and that she loved playing cards. He shared his plans for visiting his family in Quebec; struggles of his special needs students. I talked about my job and my wedding preparations. As he mentioned, he left before the Christmas break to see his family and I moved from my apartment. I never saw him again. I never really even remembered him until recently when I thought of writing about my brief acquaintanceship with strangers that I met on public transports. What’s interesting about Tom was that he always boarded the bus before me. With utmost concentration he would read the newspaper. But whenever we got off from that bus and walked over to the intersection, he started speaking immediately. As if he was waiting for those few minutes to tell me about something. He always started the conversation exactly where we had left it the day before. And then he would abruptly stop the moment he saw the bus approaching. We could have easily continued our conversation after boarding the bus but we never did. From being strangers to acquaintances, to again being strangers –it took those 8 minutes at a bus stop.
Day 06, 12 March, 2019