I see many people on board, some in uniforms, others with packages from shopping. Still others carrying books to or from a class. But no smiles.
A smile is a sign of humanity. A sign that we are willing to communicate. That our sadness, no matter how deep, will not overcome us. But for many on that bus journey, there is no joy. Their lives, I suppose, are full of pain and hopelessness.
Trapped in dead-end jobs they do not like.
Trapped in a cycle of unemployment and welfare.
Trapped in marriages.
Trapped in singleness.
Trapped in divorce.
Trapped in widowhood.
Trapped in life.
And without a smile.
A smile, too, is a sign of hope. Of hope in another person. Of trust. If I smile at you, if I let my personality bridge the distance between us in a packed city bus, perhaps you'll smile back. Perhaps you'll connect with me. And so I smile in hope, and am met with eyes turned away, of body language that protects itself from those closest by, with a posture designed to avoid contact, personal contact, on a crowded bus.