Route 72S was known to many with jobs in the inner city, especially to Charlie. He had sat on the same bus, at the same time for almost nine years right after the second year of his college. He knew every seat on the bus, every driver and almost every passenger. However he spoke to none, he just knew them by the color of their clothes, their preferred seats, their bus-stops and their shoes. Of course their shoes, for Charlie preferred to stare at the floor most of the time. He hated faces, for he thought the faces lied, the faces cried, and the faces left a lasting impression, maybe even a scar or two on his heart! He knew one such face before he moved to the city, but alas, it was never meant to be! In this cold and aloof city of millions of desperate souls, Charlie had become numb, quite comfortably, to keep the sentiments where they belonged - outside of his heart - outside of his realm - outside of his existence!
Tonight, however, a new pair of black sandals climbed the bus. With its own systematic and calculated rhythm they tip-toed on the metal floor of the bus, turning almost every head as they walked by. Almost every head, except Charlie's. The sandals stopped by Charlie's seat and parked themselves right next to Charlie's old Bostonians. Charlie couldn't help but compare the lively black pair next to his listless worn maroon Bostonians. Charlie noticed the red flare oozing out of the front of those sandals so perfectly placed on manicured nails as to remind Charlie of those roses that grew in their garden back home. As the bus pushed off, the whiff hinted a scent of roses flirting with Charlie's senses. "Maybe it came from the black dress that topped those black sandals", Charlie thought. For next twenty minutes Charlie clutched his hands, as if never to let go of his surreal dream, never to let it break his heart again, never again!
A jolt followed by gushing cold air broke the dream as the bus came to a stop and doors opened. The old black woman's, Mrs. LeRoy's, to be precise, brown winter shoes walked by, and Charlie realized, it was the bus station at Victoria and Polk. Next, the rosy whiff again, as the black sandals tik-talked away unfurling a garden of dreams over every rider. The black dress melted in the darkness of the night, as each eye on the bus carried it very gently down every step.
As the bus drove off, Charlie felt goosebumps rise on his ice-cold body. A mere feeling he never did allow for many years urged him to take another glance through the tinted windows, a bright warm glow covered his sight from the new lamp-post installed by the old bus stop.