Sitting in this hard plastic chair, I wait. Waiting is all I seem to be doing these days but let’s not go there just yet, that’s a story for another rainy day.
The bus stop, at this time of the day, is overflowing with people yet I feel oddly comfortable. We all sit so close to each other but there are no awkward stares exchanged or no opinionated judgments made. There is a non demanding silence that settles between us and it is the beauty of this soundlessness that overwhelms the impatience and tension that hangs in the air, bringing with it a sense of utter satisfaction.
I can’t help but think of all those people who have been here before me, walked the same path as mine, breathed the same air as mine, sat in the same seat as mine, perhaps even boarded the same bus as mine yet we all are nothing but complete strangers, nothing but different.
Sitting over here, I could be anybody and nobody at the same time. I could pretend to be all annoyed because of the penetrating heat or put up a stressed out expression that screams : “Running on Caffeine !” but the thing is nobody cares. Even if I choose to sit there beaming like a maniac, with hair sticking out in all directions, nobody seems to care. And for a person who had been taught to live life respecting the boundaries of perfection and reputation, I find that insanely liberating.
My train of thoughts is interrupted by a voice, a heavy voice to put it right and I am compelled to look at the person standing in front of me with an expression of hopeful expectation embracing his face.
” Could you please look after my bag for a second? I just need to go get something to eat and it won’t take long. I promise I’ll make it fast.”
At first his words don’t register but I try to put up the best smile I can muster. I simply nod because I just can’t find my voice, and I am afraid if I do speak, it might not come out right. I’m afraid I might say too much, I might say something that I shouldn’t have said.
Once he is out of sight, again the blanket of thoughts engulfs me. But this time around there are questions. Questions that I don’t have answers to, questions I don’t understand. What made that guy trust me? What was it that made him trust me more than the girl sitting next to me or the old man sitting in front of me or that guy leaning against the wall? Why me?
Is it that easy to trust someone you have never met before ? The thing that bewilders me is that how can such a powerful sentiment can be built just on the foundation of a simple insignificant moment. But if we do think about it, even though I have heard people complain about having trust issues, we trust another person without putting much thought into it.
How do you know that the bus you are sitting in will take you to your destination? Because you trust the driver even though you know nothing about him. The coffee you are drinking, how do you know it is not poisoned? Because you trust the person who made it. When you cross this road, how do you know that you will end up safe on the other side? Because you trust people, you trust humanity. You know that they will live up to your expectation.
How utterly amazing is that ?
We judge people despite the fact, that we would never want to be judged. I would myself, always prefer to go unnoticed rather than stand under the spotlight with judgmental eyes scrutinizing every move that I make.
The trust that guy put in me, I might have not been able to reciprocate it. And all of a sudden I feel the weight of responsibility pressing on my shoulders, I feel a suffocating sense of accountability bubbling inside me.
Trust that is one sided is not trust but it is something more along the lines of dependency and over reliance is never good.
All of a sudden, I feel like there is space between every individual sitting in this room. I can feel the heat of the opinions people have constructed inside their heads, pressing on me. The loose thread sticking out of my shirt seems too interesting all of a sudden or maybe it is the fact that I’d do anything to avoid eye contact. I feel the need to get up, I feel the need to walk away from this self imposed blame. It is strange how the situation flipped from being comfortable to utterly suffocating.
I pull my hood over my head hoping for it to hide me, adhering to conformity. As I walk away from the bus stop, waves of guilt hit me. I can hear voices, I can see faces yet I allow for them to turn into a hazy blur. I step over the cracks on the sidewalk, my body movements almost casual, as if nothing happened. The day stretches in front of me like every other day but I lack the courage to face it. I’m awfully aware of every corner, every person, every sentiment unraveling before me as I walk down this street yet I choose to be disloyal, I choose to betray, I choose to be shamefully ignorant.