The bus stopped right in front of him. It was full and he hardly managed to climb the stairs. He looked around for a moment at all those faces surrounding him and then he looked down at his feet. At the next stop more people got down and he moved deeper into the crowd. The sit next to the window was empty but the woman felt no need to move.
“May I?” he shamefacedly asked.
She moved a little without even looking at the man then turned her face from him. He sat and remained with his eyes on the ground.
Young girls were checking their phones and laugh, others were just talking with each-other or looking on the window. People. Beautiful people. He had no idea what their phones were or their clothes, but everything looked nice. He never had things like that, he was just an old man that had no idea for how many years he wear his clothes. Their color were long gone and there were patches all over. His smell was probably bad, but he got so used to it that he could not feel it anymore. He looked at his hands, dirty and harsh and tears started to form in the corner of his eyes.
He knew the disgust with which people looked at him. Old age was nothing pleasing to the eyes and more than that he was poor. He never asked for anything in his life, even if there were so many times he needed something to eat, but they always looked at him and judged. He was probably drinking all his money, yes, that was what they usually thought. He let them whisper, believe whatever made them sleep good at night, but in his heart he felt stabbed with every single word.
He was once young, and back then things were not simpler. He had the bad luck of being an orphan into the world, trying to survive. It was not easy, it never was, trying so hard to work for a hot meal or a roof above his head. He worked for days and nights, but he never managed to do more that surviving every day. He had no family even if he once fall in love, but how could he think of more? He had nothing to offer to her and even if she didn’t want more, he run away. How could he live with himself if he dragged her into his world? How could he condemn innocent children to the life he had? How could he raised them without having what to give them to eat or a warm bed to sleep into? No, no one deserved the life he had.
He was alone, in that bus full of people, in the overpopulated planet. No one wanted him, no one talked to him. It was too late for his life, he prayed every day to end but every single day he woke up under the sky. He slept in the cemetery, there there was no one who could defame or send him away. It was too much to call it home, but it was the only place he had. Some pieces of cardboard and a bag with rags.
He was crying. He did not realized when the tears came running down his cheeks until he saw the hand with the handkerchief in front of his eyes. He raised them and looked at the girl. There was something in her eyes, something he did not see before. It wasn’t pity or repulsion. He took the handkerchief and touched her hand. She smiled at him and suddenly everything became warmer. Her face was so bright.
The bus stopped and she got out of it. While passing near the window where the old man sat, he waved him goodbye still smiling. He followed her with his eyes until he could not see her anymore and his heart smiled. For the first time in his life he felt human.