Anne van Kesteren

The Bus Terminal

His non-digital language skills were still lacking. And every now and then he reflected on this. As he sat next to an elderly person in the Medellin bus terminal to charge his dead phone he wanted to say something. “Is it okay if I sit here?” Instead he used a clumsy gesture, smiled, and got his way, but he did not really feel satisfied. Yet again he could not feed and still his hunger to verbally communicate.

A little later a women sporting an old Nokia phone walked up to him and frantically pointed at his watch — a then three-year old scratch-free shiny Rado [the narrator loves it], his sole piece of jewelry. She looked to be in a hurry so he glanced at his watch, did the conversion to local time, and managed to bring out “cuarto, cinco cuarto.” They both chuckled at him telling the time the way James Bond would introduce himself (and poorly at that) and then both immersed in their respective activities. She hurried along and he watched himself in the phone display, which at that point had finally acquired enough energy to turn itself on. It played a short tune and the display read “HTC quietly brilliant.” Not so brilliant, then, he thought, as he got up and headed for the bus.