Sunday, December 02, 2007

Do I know you

He's just across the street from me as I'm waiting for the bus. He's focused intently on something in the gutter. He reaches both hands for it, carefully, stooping down, he scoops at empty air, gently gently handling nothing, bringing nothing close to his chest, cradling nothing tenderly, he steps around in a circle, letting nothing go, he begins all over again.

I can't take my eyes off him. What does he see? What is he holding with such delicacy? His hair hangs down over his face, I can't read his expression, but he performs these actions over and over, with variations: now he is cradling with both hands, now one hand holds while the other supports - what - a baby's head? Is he rescuing babies in the street? Or kittens?

Or something else, something of inestimable value? Something I can't - with all my busy-ness - begin to imagine?

He shakes his hair back, and I see his face for a few seconds. He smiles at whatever he holds. He looks like Viggo Mortensen, dirty face, long hair, beard. But his beard is trimmed. He wears a clean corduroy jacket - if slightly worn at the elbows - clean khakis. As he steps around in his turn, I see a wallet in his back pocket.

Who was he, before his doors of perception were thrown open, when he could tell the difference between the world Out There and the world In Here?

My bus comes, and I get on. It's time for me to be back at work, but I turn in my seat and watch him as we pull away. Do I know you?, I think. Do I know you?


Geo said...

My sister-in-law's friend lost her son to a wintry avalanche last year, or maybe it was the year before? To restore balance to the universe, or possibly to avenge the loss, this grieving mother has started stealing baby Jesuses from store displays. Your beautiful Viggo man reminds me of her.

(She is currently in Jordan, where the penalties for stealing are much more severe than they are here, so we're all feeling a little worried about her. I think I'll send her my baby Jesus to see if it helps keep her out of prison.)

P.S. I was sick all last week, so I'm going to give the P.O. a go, finally. Be watching for your boxette soon. I'm sorry I've been pokey. I looked at it every day last week and said, "Ooohhhhhhhhhh."

Chemical Billy said...

what a beautiful edge of a story, your sister-in-law's baby-jesus-stealing friend.

I've been pokey too. Let's be pokey together!

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's a performance artist, ma belle? Maybe he's the Divine Idiot archetype from Russia.... Maybe he is happier than those of us in contact with collective "reality." Maybe he feels like a real artist unlike me & the rest of us that feel never good enough.....