trying not to touch

empty seats on a train

The middle aged man sat very still, trying not to touch the woman next to him, which was hard seeing as the carriage was becoming very overcrowded. Damn trains he thought, why can’t they run more so this doesn’t happen? We’d all be more comfortable.

But no, he had to cope with sitting there as rigid as he was, trying desperately not to sway too much and touch the woman next to him.

This was something that had bothered him all his life, this physical contact with strangers. He just couldn’t stand it. The constant physical contact with his wife and kids was something he’d grown used to over the years but there was no way he was going to make an exception for strangers.

The train veered right making him sway slightly. He clenched his butt cheeks, pushed his legs together and deliberately leaned the opposite way trying to increase the small space between himself and the woman next to him.

Damn his wife’s car for needing a service and for her needing to use his. He should have made her catch the train. Less discomfort for all concerned. He pulled his laptop bag up and hugged it against his chest. Still trying to move as little as possible, he rummaged around in the front of his bag for his mp3 player, figuring he had at least a half hour to go so should get some relief.

He plugged the earphones into his ears and closed his eyes as he selected shuffle and heard the first bars of ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ by The Police. Humphf, how appropriate he thought, as he tightened his grip on his laptop bag, clenched his butt cheeks again and pulled his knees together, just to be sure not to touch the woman next to him.

Also posted on Cowbird

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