by Drew Martin
In my mid-twenties, I lived in Sudetenland where I used to ride the trolley buses. One day, I got on a full bus and a middle-aged woman squished next to me. She was curvy and carried heavy bags of produce. The doors closed and the bus rolled forward. Our backs were to each other and our bodies overlapped on one of our legs. Her calf muscle was strong and firm, and it pressed against my leg with a hidden desire. I stood still and enjoyed the sensation. We rode over a metal bridge above the Elbe and turned before a small basalt mountain where a fallout shelter had been prepared for the communist elite. That was a fading era: the Berlin Wall had been torn down a few years earlier and people were enjoying new freedoms, everyone except me. I was stuck in this backwards town in a bad marriage and all I had in this moment was the pressing leg of a stranger. The bus continued on and bounced and people's bodies jiggled. When we rounded a corner one way our legs would press harder and then on the opposite turn our calves would briefly disconnect but soon find each other again. Finally, the trolley bus slowed down before the main station. The doors opened and I turned as I got out to look as this companion's leg, only to find it had been a cabbage in her bag.