Why Does He Sit Next to Me?

commuter on bus

(photo: Mo Riza, flickr)

The man in a trench coat
who smells like pencil shavings
makes the sign of the cross
three times during the trip to NYC
I wish he wouldn’t sit next to me

He fidgets and clears his throat
never reads
I know he wants to talk
but I don’t
Why does he sit next to me?

He used to have a bus buddy
they chatted the entire way
never see her anymore
now he drifts from seat to seat,
hoping for camaraderie (I think)
I want to read or listen to music,
clear my head for the work day
Why does he sit next to me?

He tells the bus driver to “Have a safe day.”