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I die on the bus

On a bitter November morning under a static sunless sky, I'm again waiting for the bus to go to my second appointment of the week. My body still hasn't recovered from the last appointment. I lean against a brick wall and covetously eye the one and only bench. The wind stirs, and frigid air stings my skin. I try and fall deeper into the layers of wool and polyester bound up around my pain-wracked body. What's worse than the pain, though, is the nagging itch on my upper back unreachable through multiple sweatshirts.

"It's going to be another 20 minutes," someone mumbles.

A minor inconvenience for most, but my reserve of spare time is running critically low.

When the bus finally arrives, everyone is piling on before I'm even able to push myself from the wall. When it's my turn to get on, I have to climb the stairs slowly, one foot at a time. Standing in the aisle, I can see the eyes of the young and the healthy turn quickly away from me. I'm obviously something they'd rather not think about.

The bus jerks into motion before I can sit, and I nearly fall on the floor.

"Are you alright?" someone asks.

"Yeah, thank you," I mutter.

The traffic is stop and go, and I count the minutes slipping by between each stop.

1 gone..2 gone...3 gone…

The bus trembles and bounces as the tires jump in and out of potholes. Every jolt sends currents of pain through my body. The stops are often sudden, and my head bounces against the window. The stops are long. I count the seconds as people pull up carts and stack their bicycles and mutter to myself, "can we move it along?"

I see an older woman in a wheelchair rolling up the door, and the driver engages the lift. That's another two minutes I'll never get back.

When I finally get to where I'm going, there's more waiting, first in the aptly named waiting

room. Twenty-seven more minutes slip into oblivion before I am called to sit in another room

where this time, needles will stream poison into my veins for a while.

When this is done. I shuffle back to the bus stop, tired and weary, so I can wait to do it again. If it comes on time, I may lose 45 minutes or so. Hopefully, I have enough of existence's currency left to cover it.

Nick's stories are his attempt at understanding the sickness known as the human condition.

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