Disturbing fellow passengers

This morning a man sat across from me in the bus. He dug a kleenex from his pocket, previously used, judging by the way it was folded, and blew his nose, which was red from agitation. The act of folding the crumpled, off-white napkin and the "man, why am I sick now of all times when I have so much to do, will this cold ever go away?" sniffling that accompanied it, filled me with dread. I wanted to get away from the contaminated man, to hold my breath and get up, walking calmly, as to disturb as few air atoms as I could, to escape to different bus not filled with big men with agitated noses and used napkins. I knew I didn't have a hankerchief, and I knew the feeling of having a running nose and not having anything to wipe it with except my sleeve, which I wouldn't use anyway, because even more repulsive than sitting in the same bus with a runny nose, especially someone else's, is that you can't help noticing when a sleeve has been used. I had nothing to blow my nose with and I knew all too well the "why me, will this cold ever end?" sniffle (as I suffer from that particular sniffle whenever my nose runs, but that other people do too, is only an assumption on my part) and all I did was sit there, across from the big man who had sandy hair, not sparse but not too thick either, bleary medium-sized eyes blurred just slightly by massive angular glasses, a large, recently shaved chin and many other features, such as clothes, all of which faded into the periphery of my awareness, dwarfed by one monolithic, agitated, runny, red nose.


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