Ache consumed his body under the ribs, across his chest and arrested any swallowing. Winter waited impatiently outside his jacket, jealous of the affliction that squatted into his bones. Open-mouthed breath vaporized into the frigid air, the only sign of life.
The bus slid to the curb, spilling black exhaust across the sidewalk. Passengers disembarked covering their noses. The man gazed through the cloud, through the open doors, through the building on the opposite side and clear across the world. He did not see the bus wait then pull away, sardonically belching in his face. Melting ice crept under his seat, bit his buttocks and then gave up.
A careless jostle rained hot coffee from under an ill-fitting coffee-cup lid. Cream-laden drops splashed then froze to his unshaved cheek and upper lip. The aroma paused bewildered under a nostril, unable to awaken the senses. Someone whistled for a taxi. A girl laughed from under a pile of woolen scarves, startled by the shriek. He just“was.”