I happened to see Carol K on the #71 bus the other day.  She didn’t recognize me because I had gained so much weight.  Of course, it had been years.



While Carol K cajoled with two other women, I had the opportunity to take a good look at her, and yes, it was indeed Carol K, retired dance instructor at never-mind-which college in Boston.  She and I had been students together in a memoir writing class.



Now and then, Carol K glanced worriedly at me.  Like she couldn’t place who I was.  Like I was someone out of her past she didn’t want to see.  Like a touch of paranoia had gripped her.



Carol K and I both disembarked at the last stop.  I was headed for my shrink appointment.  Lord knows where she went, but after my appointment was over, I took the #71 bus again and there was Carol K.



Carol K sat in one of the sideways-facing seats near the front.  I sat just behind the side door, behind a plexiglas wall, sipping on a large bottle of water.  Carol K was alone now, stealing glances at me, her eyebrows slanted, her eyes little slits.  I was getting a kick out of this.



We got off at the same stop.



Carol K hastened ahead of me.  My plan was to relieve myself at the library rest room before continuing on home.  My bladder felt as though it would burst.  But the obsession had gripped me: Where was Carol K headed?



What mattered most was that this meant something, something especially for me.



I kept a safe distance behind.  Carol K quickened her pace.  Then she turned, and stepped into the library.



Enough was enough.  I walked past Carol K, past the library, past the rest room, shaking off all her paranoia, all my own paranoia.  My bladder would have to wait.



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