Short Story: A boy mistaken for a man takes a seat on the afternoon bus

A short story in the genre of realistic fiction, my favorite.

His skateboard is a plank of chipped wood. It’s locked in place behind dirty black shoes. A gray stain runs up his faded blue jeans, the gray climaxes into a darker gray on the knees. He wears a dark sweater and a black cap–green headphones on the ears. His lips are pierced shut like he’s holding in a scream. His hands shake like he has an itch that if gone unscratched any longer will make him explode.

He hurriedly fidgets in his pouch for something. It’s a rubix cube. It’s already done. He undoes it. It jams. He forces it. His hands seem far too shaky for the delicate job. It’s a toy not a bomb you need to defuse. He manages to mix the colors. He matches them again. Mixes the colors. Matches them again. Mixes the colors now slowly. Gradually, he matches them again.

This process of making a mess and cleaning it up soothes him. He puts the cube in his bag and rests his weary cheek on a weak fist. He bobs his head like a lullaby, a nap a little past noon, another tired soul on the public commute nowhere.


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