Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ignorance, Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

We are all shades, waiting for the bus, limited versions of ourselves. I hang behind, he does not notice me, for why should me? He boards the bus, so do I, it is all very easy.
The bus ferries us – to the world of the living, is it? – across the city, beyond where grit is glamorous and into where it is simply a fact of life, not an accessory but a uniform. We rumble over potholes, across a cavernous overpass. People descend from the bus, some of them trudging, some bouncing as they near home. A low brick apartment complex approaches outside the bus, halts by my window and a number of riders descend. So does the violin player, so do I.
I follow twenty feet behind him, no attempt to dissimulate, just walking. He does not turn around, I am nothing to him, no threat.
He enters the building, I cannot follow. A light on the ground floor illuminates a square window. I approach. Behind the iron bars, I can see. I observe certainly that he can see. His eyes, walnut brown, drink in his surroundings. An old woman hunched in an armchair, flashes of television colors muted on her wrinkled face. He kisses her cheek, she pats his arm. He moves to another room, I follow, the dark night silent behind me, the rooms in front of me delicately humming. A younger woman, wife perhaps, with pendulous breasts and thin brown hair pulled back reaches down to pull a chicken from the oven. I want some, so does he, he pokes a fork at it. Dirty dishes peek above the edge of the sink, trying to stage an escape from their pit.
No children that I can see, just the three of them. A shadow moves – perhaps a cat, perhaps the television’s dreams. A carved clock sits on a shelf opposite my window, I think it tells the right time, but I cannot see that far very well. It looks cheap, plywood shapes and laminate stickers. I wonder why he has it, the violinist.
Disappointed, I turn away from the windows and walk through the stiff grass back to the bus stop. I hope there is a bus back to the city. As I wait, I consider my failure.
A bus does come, eventually, and I am grateful, aching from standing. I return to the city, and it occurs to me that I have a chance to do it all over. Not to follow the violinist again, reenacting my selfish curiosity, but to discover what I was looking for. And the answer lies, as the violinist probably could have told me, in not looking, in closing my eyes. The next time I ascend the escalator, accompanied by the violinist’s hard-earned notes, I know I will close my eyes, even if briefly, and hear just the music. I will see the man as he presents himself, no need to search, to judge. There is the music, and that is all I need to know.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Another great story, keep it up, you are destined for success.

You asked for praise and/or criticism. I don't have any criticism other than seeing a bit of the "dark" side in most of your stories.

I know you, and therefore equate that to campassion rather than depression. But I wonder what others may think.


Princess Nijma

Princess Nijma