After the First Thousand Miles

“Hey, man, you quit bad talking him. He didn’t mean nothing.”

The heavy voice from the opposite end of the bus called echolessly forward a stream of curse words in response. I clenched my teeth while listening to the interchange. The driver was out, the passengers restless.

The skinny one stood halfway up from his seat, taking a deep breath.

“Let it go.” I heard myself say in a tone that a novel would call deadly.

He looked at me, confused, about to redirect his interrupted tirade with brows reknit in my direction.

“It takes two people to hold both ends of a grudge,” my voice continued, emitting words that sounded wiser than my screaming logic would admit.

“That’s just stupid. Makes no fucking sense.”

“It does.” Keeping my voice low, I refused to look over my shoulder. “Let your end go, and you set it on fire. If he keeps hold, he gets burned. Otherwise I’ll make sure you both get thrown off this bus, because I am sick of entitled assholes tossing royal offenses at each other. So shut up.”

And he did.

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