Content

The road was dark with no streetlights but the soft glow of multiple phone screens lit up the bus’ interior. The seats were plush, filled with dull, passive bodies except for the knobbly old man seated beside her.

His face, withered like a wrinkled grape, was marked by a permanent frown, dark hair slicked back with a middle parting so straight and oily it looked like pages of a glossy magazine tapped to the table. The stiff cotton shirt and plain trousers he wore were sharply edged and must have taken his wife hours to steam and iron. Shoes so black and shiny she could’ve threaded her eyebrows in the reflection.

They’d sat together for six hours but she had yet to know his name. What she did know was that he cursed at every speed breaker, scowled at passing motorbikes and let out cackle at each sharp turn. 

And she knew, without doubt, that amid the crushing mass of oblivious humanity, he was the only one content.

Photo Stories: Original short fiction based on a picture, 300 words or less.

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