101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 61

Today, I got onto the bus at night only to be shocked by its silence. The bus was full but quiet as could be. It was absurd to me. No one was talking, and even the hum of the bus seemed a few decibels lower than usual.

I found myself almost subconsciously open my mouth and say aloud “this bus is so quiet”. I wasn’t sure if I was talking to myself or to anyone in particular, but the man sitting beside me turned and smiled and said “hmm, it is really quiet”. His name is Elias and he is my stranger of the day.

He had a gentleness to his tone and an earnestness in his gaze.

It was pretty late at night and I was on my way home. I was surprised to hear that he was on his way to his work shift, after just getting off his previous shift at another workplace. He said that he hoped we would see each other again, before getting off at the bus stop and saying goodbye.

The interaction was brief but it reminded me just how different our lives are from one another, even living in the city. Without realizing it, I think I had on some subliminal level assumed that everyone else on the bus was also going home after a long day. But Elias helped me realize that some were continuing their already long days, without complaint. It was inspiring.

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