O asked for the time. No reason not to oblige. He asked if the R train stopped at 9th Avenue. I didn’t know where the train stopped, but was excited about the newly acquired map I carried, so we looked. The R train didn’t stop there. Stopped at 4th Avenue and 9th Street deep in Brooklyn. O seemed fine with that and so, seeing that we were done here, I returned my posture to neutral. I folded my arms over my purse. Sipped my water bottle to chase away the subway stifle. I ended the conversation as I assumed was natural. Politely, of course. Following, of course, all unwritten rules of social interaction. And apart from the deafening drone of the city, enjoyed, of course, the silence between us. Until—
He came again with I’m sorry’s and By the way’s.