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I sat down at an empty seat in the middle of the bus. There was a chattering couple behind me, a man asleep to my right, and a father with his two daughters in front of me. I placed my bag on the empty seat next to me and removed a book I had been trying to finish for months. I looked up for a brief moment and noticed the bus driver smiling at me in the mirror. We had bonded over a cigarette only minutes earlier. I smiled back and then awkwardly looked away. I attempted to read, but was quickly bored. I looked out the window and focused on the passing traffic. I was struck with a sense of melancholy as I watched so many cars head towards the place I was leaving. I knew it would only be a few days before I had to return…