Fingers in his lap, nervously touching, tip to tip. His head is down, yet he can see her with a secret sideways glance, three seats back in the row next to his. His hair sports no neat cut and his jeans are of the corduroy. Like this, he feels he cannot speak to her even though he has seen her before speak cheerfully to passengers who smell like 1,000 missed baths. Confidence lost, he is without motion as she exits the rear door of the bus.
Off the bus, three blocks, he walks in the opposite direction to search for her. Not to talk or engage, simply to know. To observe her doing what she does, being who she is. The first time he did this, he learned she likes coffee with splashes of milk. Another was the discovery of a single content of the leather bag she carries: a gossip magazine. He was not prejudging her, only hoping the magazine was for a sick friend. When he saw her reading it as she waited for her coffee, he restructured her as a populist, a star descending from the heavens to make Earth a little brighter, hotter, white light blue light.
On the corners, he sang in languages that moved people to fill his hat with coins and paper. He asked those with cameras to line the hat with their bills before snapping. Those with kids and cameras, ten dollars upfront. They obliged, he sang and posed, wondering what she would do if she happened to pass him by in these moments. Would she want a picture with him? Of him? He would sing her an Italian aria and melt her soul. Her money would be an insult as he instead would ask her to marry him. Or ask her name. Her name would be a good start.
Clutching his paper bag, saying goodnight to the clerk, Keeper of the Stoli, he likes to joke, he turns a corner and nearly runs her over. Runs her over. Her. Swallowing hard and finding a throat in rebellion, he cannot speak even an I’m sorry. She smiles at him her acceptance of his silent apologies and walks away unharmed, uninjured, unaffected by his accidental touch. He drops his bag and, trying to recover her presence, begins to sing. The aria. Their aria. If she hears him, she lets no one know of it. The sway of her hips disappears with her steps and brings brutal end to the serenade.
I am on your bus, he whispers after her into the night. I am on your bus, he says to everyone who passes him on the street. I am on your bus, he sings on the street corners, but no one pays for this information. The cameras stay in their bags. I am on your bus to Keeper of the Stoli who now bags the vodka with a sad look of misunderstanding. I am on your bus, he says, but no longer rides.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
499 words. It took about an hour to write, so maybe this break is doing some good. Rambling in my blog may be therapeutic. Or it may just be rambling in my blog. History will judge.
Posted by fringes at 6/01/2006