Thoughts on the Guy Next to Me Who Looks Just Like Me

by MW Cook

     To the guy sitting next to me on the bus with my face.
     Wow. Look at you. You look exactly like me. And not in that superficial way in which anyone with an unkempt beard and strange, long hair looks. Your face looks like mine. Your eyes look like mine. Dude, you look like me.
     Wow, we dress the same, too. Both of us wear rotting shoes and over-worn pants. I bet you own as few clothes as I do. And that’s a nice satchel you have. Did you get it at Goodwill like I got mine?
     And I can tell that you see it, too. You keep looking at me, pretending not to. And I keep looking at you, pretending not to. And I think we’re both clever enough to know what we’re doing.
     Alas, neither of us seem strong enough to walk up to the other and say, “Hey, nice beard,” or “Dude, nice satchel.” That’s all it would have taken, I bet. And then we’d start talking to each other. And it’d be cool. Because we look the same. And it’d also be cool because, well, what’s better than talking to strangers?
     But neither of us were brave enough. So we sat there. I played with Twitter on my phone. You listened to music, but only with one earbud, leaving room for me to start a conversation.
     What would it have been like if I had done it? If I had turned and said, “Hey there”?
     The worst-case would have been an annoyed look. But I don’t think you would have done that. You look friendly. And so do I, for that matter. Why didn’t we risk it?