He took a seat directly in front of me on the city bus. His faded black jean jacket looked thin and worn, explaining why he wore a dark hooded sweatshirt underneath the jacket. It was very cold outside and he needed to stay warm.
The hood was up over his head and his face seemed to disappear inside the folds of the thick fleece. He reeked of cigarette smoke and as he slid into the seat and pushed his back against the window, he briefly glanced at me with piercing, paranoid green eyes. He sat sideways and I could easily see his profile. He had a thin, gaunt face with an almost aristocratic nose. A nose that perpetually dripped and he would use the back of his hand to wipe the snot away.
Out of his tattered backpack, he pulled out a flyer of some kind. I couldn't read what it said, but as he pulled the paper close to his face and narrowed his eyes, he gnawed on his fingers as if they were an elegant delicacy. His fingernails were gone, the fingertips ravaged from constant sucking, biting, pulling away the skin. It was like watching a rat who was fortunate enough to find a prized piece of some exotic fruit. A rat...who couldn't stop nibbling on this delectable treat.
It was not unusual to see a rat on a city bus. A stinky, squinty-eyed, anxiety-ridden little rat of a man on the bus. I just wished I wasn't sitting so close to him...