I’m on the bus, waiting to go home. It’s been a long day, having had five hours of class – the days feel longer since I began university.
We’re stopped at one of the lights and it’s in one of the ‘better’ suburbs, the kind that doesn’t know steel roller-doors for the sake of safety. Through my dislike of eye contact with the other passengers, I find myself staring out the window.
People trickle through the street – given the time of day there aren’t many shoppers around now, instead heading home or going to dinner. The restaurant could almost be called a hole-in-the-wall, considering the width allows for a line of tables and the fact that in front of the store is a food-preparation counter. Despite the tiny restaurant, the board above the entrance is bright yellow and the lettering is unusual, bubbly and round.
Behind the counter is a young-looking man who looks to be preparing naan breads, from my inexpert eye. He twists and twirls the dough easily, effortlessly, and I wonder how long he’s been there. He doesn’t notice that someone is watching him and transfers one bread to the hot plate beside him, and I cringe at the closeness – at how easy it would be to burn yourself. It’s a system he has going, and evidently one long-practiced. I watch him transfer the dough to hotplates and twirl it easily, shaping it into something before cooking it.
People pass him, and he is unnoticing, entirely focused on his task. I wonder if he ever pauses to watch someone walk by, if he ever makes up stories about the people he sees. Even as I wonder this, I decide that he does not, opting instead to work. He looks as though he enjoys the task, and I can see why: there’s something soothing about the repetition. I envy him the peace of his environment. There are a few people around a table, but it looks overall quiet and calm, a contrast from the noise of the campus I’ve just left. It seems he has the patience I lack and the almost-meditative state I wish I could gain. Maybe this is his respite from a noisy environment.
How long he does this for, I have no idea. The light turns green and my bus pulls away, curving around a corner and the little restaurant vanishes from view.