Our eyes

Our eyes met, separated by a thin pane of glass and 10 feet of concrete, but entire galaxies couldn’t fill the gap in our individual experiences. I was sitting in the backseat of a car, head leaned against the glass, enjoying the infrequent luxury of quiet and comfort in a cab on my way to work. I saw him as my car slowed for a red light, hunched with one other man on the sidewalk nearby. He was my age, dressed casually with the patchy start of a bleach blond beard. He appeared nervous, as if on edge, but friendly. His head rose and made a quick assessment of his surroundings. He saw me staring, but I held my gaze; when he looked back a heartbeat later, he held his. We shared three tantalizing seconds of eye contact; I can’t know what he saw in my look, but in his I read fear, or perhaps surprise at receiving such direct attention. I looked away first, feeling uncomfortable for a reason I didn’t understand, and in my periphery I saw him bow once again to the crack pipe.