Friday, 08/20/2021

I don’t know how long I sat there in that seat, possibly leather, although it was more likely vinyl – a bit less soft, stiff, but a bit slicker, squeakier, artificial – where I felt a kind of comfort and familiarity, despite the fact, in retrospect, that I know that I had never been in that particular town – tidy, but a bit run down – that I viewed through the dirty windows of the rattling city bus; and, as I reckon, was perhaps in some northern state like Pennsylvania or New York, and working-class, with its simple, white, single-gabled, nearly indistinguishable, two or three story homes sitting so close to each other, side-by-side with only a narrow passage between. I watched the people on the sidewalk as we passed. I saw one young man who wore a black cap. He was unremarkable. I don’t recall much about him; but then I saw another, walking faster, advancing ahead of him. No, not another young man, but the same one. Identical. Just another version, his doppelgänger. It was surprising. I attempted to speak or yell out, or maybe I just wanted to, but I didn’t do anything: for as I happened to be sitting on the bus, it just slowly passed him – them – by; and my shifting point of view, which was by then slightly ahead and looking back at the two of them, allowed them to slip away in the same manner. I felt the presence of others around me likewise looking out at the sidewalk. I continued to watch; perhaps some time passed, but nothing much registered. And then I was out on the sidewalk myself, “It was the same way the next town over,” a gray-haired woman, unadorned and past middle-age said, “and now it’s completely empty.”