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2.

The sun rose in the sky, and its rays hit the window, heating it. His seat was lightly shaking as the bus streamed down the highway. He woke up, with his face on the warm window glass and his mouth opened a bit. There was that dream again. The one he had so many times before. It was a happy dream, the one he enjoyed the most. The problem arose when he would realize that he was dreaming. The dream was always good. It kept sending him to a place that he wished was true, but that place was no more. His present, his reality was different now. Unfortunately, he had little hope that this torment would end soon.

Finally, he was coming back home. His student exchange adventure had been just finished and he was a bit exhausted. It was a great opportunity that he had been given, but he still missed his town. Soon, familiar fields surrounding the road appeared and his face lightened up. He knew very well that it was just his imagination, but the air felt different and friendlier. He waited that moment for long. Staying abroad changed him in unexpected ways and he was not sure if the old surroundings would accept his new self. Now, he saw people differently. Naturally, he wondered whether people noticed anything different about him. Roly looked at the woman sitting in front of him. He could only see her face in the pale reflection on the window they shared. Although she was a complete stranger, Roly had the urge to speak his mind to her. Apparently, he arrived at that stage when wanted to give out all the signals and all the hints about his current situation. In a very human manner, what he had to deal with was the most important.  He was young, so he would probably be forgiven.

Roly moved on his seat to stretch as much as he could. He was sitting there for more than ten hours, so his legs were in cramps and his knees hurt as if tiny needles were pinned into them. Even his upper body was sore. He became anxious. Just a little longer, and he would be home. Still, nostalgia did not walk into his heart alone. It was accompanied by fear. Sure, he was going to be glad after seeing his people, but he knew he would not be truly happy. They were going to be glad after seeing him, too. But, in reality, they were going to be glad after seeing the image they created about him.

Soon, the streets appeared. A traffic light, then another one. The bus station showed its gates. When the bus that he was in finally arrived at the platform, the passengers started to leave. Roly was getting ready to stand up and go towards the exit. He breathed out. Before he moved, he looked through the window once more. There was a bus on the next platform and in it there was a man who was looking at him. He was older than Roly, yet his eyes were still young and lively. But, there was a bit of sadness in them. Roly understood that he was leaving, for long. However, he was looking at Roly as if he felt sorry about his decision. It was a gaze of longing and sorrow for the opportunities that were great, but arrived at the wrong time. And those opportunities were the most painful to let go.

Suddenly, Roly remembered how much time he spent in the bus, and that it must have reflected on his appearance. His hair was messy and nowhere as smooth as stranger’s. He looked like a stylish gentleman, and Roly was embarrassed of inhabiting his own skin at that moment. Still, no matter how Roly felt, the stranger seemed to be fixated with him. And Roly was not bothered with the attention. What were the odds to experience something like that when he thought he was alone in the world? Apparently, he just needed to look around more carefully. This unknown man was a reminder for Roly that there was still a chance for happiness. He wanted to say something to him, and see whether he could read his lips, but then he gave up that thought. Roly wanted to save that moment quietly, to memorize his face as much as he could.

It was time for Roly to leave the bus, he was among the last passengers there. But, just before he walked away, he smiled at the stranger in the other bus, and then hurried to the exit. Rush and excitement pulsated through his body. He had a feeling that he did something mischievous. Still, he did not regret it. Roly was given the rest of his bags and the platforms soon remained behind him. He heard the engine of the other bus moving away and finally fading in the distance. The stranger left, and took all of the mystery surrounding him with himself. As he went down the street, struggling under the weight of all of his bags, Roly imagined what his voice would sound like. Surely, he was a handsome man, but perhaps he had a voice that did not quite match with his appearance. Or, perhaps, he had an unusual, strange name that was hard to pronounce and even harder to take it seriously. The stranger, in fact, could have been anything Roly wanted him to be.

He was thinking about going to his university again and seeing all of his friends there. He had two more years of studies, and then the adult life was to begin for him. Roly wondered where would he go and what he would do after the university. He did not have a clear idea, not yet. On the other hand, he was aware that a part of him was left in the past, perhaps in that bus, on a seat by the window. And Roly was never going to forget those splits of moments, those bits of time.

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