The man on the radio says, “This song goes out to all the lonely people.”
At this, the passengers—or all the lonely ones—get up out of their bus seats as if ready to embrace all the lonely ones standing in the aisle who, for their part, have turned to all the lonely ones sitting in the front row of aisle-facing seats. They all have on their faces the beginning sort of surprised recognition when greeting a good friend returning to civilization after a life-threatening illness or military deployment. The song hardly matters. The song is incidental to the possibility of there being a song in the first place. The problem is that the signal gets lost. There is no song. There is not even one opening measure. It is only static and fuzz for two more blocks while standing in each other’s personal space. Finally, the passengers brush past one another, mumbling, “This is my stop,” move down the steps and hurry off to wherever it is, on whichever the street, all the lonely people live. We’ve seen some of them here, in this very apartment complex. Sneaking up on us rather untactfully, on occasion, as we’re patting down or fluffing up our hair, they nod back at us somewhat forlornly, with looks that might even at times approximate the beginning traces of recognition, from the large entryway mirror.