we almost missed eachother

I had been out skateboarding under the afternoon spring sun taking in the concrete and letting all the motion of the city just wash past me. It was spring but there was still that lingering hint of winter cold which encourages a sweater, wearing it until warm and then nearly forgetting it at every stopping point for the rest of the day. It felt comforting to routine repeat something known giving me some ground in a still unfamiliar place. I had been spreading out tentative tentacle vines through my new home by taking the bus to random stops and wandering from there, learning the city in little disjointed pieces.

It was on the way back that I met him. Walking down the aisle between all of the in turned distanct faces, it was by no particular reason that I sat there. Placing my skateboard carefully under the seat minding ankles, folding my sweater settling in. I asked the boy next to me how he was - even though I almost did not he seemed so content drifting out among the passing scenery with a hint of sadness.

He turned to me

"do you really wonder or are you just being polite"

I looked closer at him, searching for a meanness that was not there

"sometimes it is easier to be open with strangers than those close to you, easier to expel things if they are absorbed by someone who will not carry it around near to remind you"

"i am just getting by, alright? there are places i would rather be than here, but it isnt that bad really. my mother died recently"

I asked him if he was handling it alright, had the solid weight settled in yet or was that still off somewhere waiting detached. He said he was not sure, that some things take time and are a part of you for so long that it is hard to figure out, untangle, and maybe scrutinizing them isnt such a good idea anyways. While talking he had slowly shifted his gaze out the window on the right but now he looked back, caught me perhaps trying to understand him with my eyes, and asked me how I was. Maybe things were simpler, or at least I had been oversimplifying my life self deceptively, there was only a little to say.

"i am having a nice time and everything feels new, but the city is a lonely place with all the anonymous faces"

We were silent for a while. Blocks and buildings passed, my stop approaching I asked if he would like to go rollerskating and then to a show. He asked me if it was a date, and I told him no it is just going to be fun, that if he didnt have fun he could curse and hit me with a stick. He laughed and days faded to memories. When he comes to mind I recall how my last words on that bus ride became an inside joke while we still knew each other, before time took us apart on down our own roads.

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