The 40, Westbound to Lauderhill Mall

I’m watching the boy in the green shirt, blond hair flipped up at the forehead, cigarette tucked behind his ear. His mouth hangs open in a kind of dull or vacant way, observing everything, observing nothing. His arms are crossed over his chest, sitting at the front of the bus, aware of at least one social rule, if no other: you must see and be seen.

When asked his age, he replies in a high shy voice, “Thirteen,” and adjusts his cigarette.

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