The Morning Commute #1

On the morning train, the faces are always the same.

The Boy has a grey backpack and red shoes. His head weaves back and forth as he takes in his surrounding; the movement is punctuated by a change in focus on this or that. He mutters to himself quietly and earnestly. His pants are too short and his white socks flash like a beacon above his red shoes. His face is almost always lit up with a smile, but when it’s not, he is staring fixedly at something, thinking avidly. Some might say he isn’t all there, that there is something missing, but I believe that his brain is merely missing that censoring ability that separates thoughts from spoken words. Some of my students do the same thing.

Always sitting at the end of the row next to the middle doors is Handyman. Handyman always wears navy blue and red, and usually his pants are workman’s pants with many pockets. He is almost always asleep. Large, square glasses obscure most of his face, but his drooping cheeks are reminiscent of a large dog.

Between The Boy and Handyman is Mr. Newspaper. He often sits between the two, yet purses his lips with displeasure whenever The Boy attempts to engage him in conversation, or points out pictures in the paper with questions or comments. He wears the standard salary-man coat (khaki and long), which hangs down to mid-thigh over his dark pants. Between pants and shoes there peep light-tan socks; only in Japan are light socks acceptable with dark pants and dark shoes.

On the other side of The Boy is Paper. Everyday, he wedges himself into the seat, bursting backpack still perched on his back like a fat monkey. As he pulls out his school work from his large purple shoulder bag, papers drop to the floor, which he hurriedly gathers into his lap with a surreptitious look around, his glasses glinting in the sunlight. He pulls out a chocolate bar and devours it completely, making the sheen of his skin somehow more noticeable.

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