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Creative Writing

Illustration by Robyn Grant

Need by Joel Bentley
Illustration by Robyn Grant

“So, I was on my way home yesterday and I get on the bus. It was late and pretty quiet, and as I’m sitting down I see this silver-green card on one of the seats. One of those three-zone bus passes.”
             “I know, exactly. They’re a hundred and forty bucks. So I’m about to grab it when I stop myself and think, do I really need this?”
             “You can’t hesitate like that. You’ve just gotta take it.”
             “But what if someone needs it more than me? I’m broke, but I’m getting by.”
             “Well, then I started thinking, maybe I should give it to someone? I start looking around, taking stock, making split-second evaluations: Pressed sports coat? No. Short skirt, green tights? No. Hoodie, skateboard? No.”
             “Pea coat, striped tie? No. Lulu leggings, headband? No.”
             “Yeah, exactly. I was like this self-appointed judge. And it makes me uncomfortable, all these visual assessments.”
             “But that’s all you’ve got.”
             “Yeah, it is. But I live here. I take that bus everyday and I don’t know any of them. This body of people is completely foreign to me. The only time I attempt conversation is when I’m hitting on someone.”
             “So then this guy with a cane steps on.”
             “Of course.”
             “He’s disheveled, tired.”
             “The perfect candidate.”
             “He sits down and I can see he sees it. He looks around, switches to the seat beside it, puts his palm over it, and slides it into his pocket. I feel like cheering, clapping, giving him a big pat on the back.”
             “But you don’t.”
             “No. I stand up and step off the bus.”

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