Monday, July 9, 2007

waiting for the bus

People Waiting for the Bus. Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views of St. Louis, Missouri. (created 1865?-1890?)Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs

Between the times I wander other people’s dreams of themselves at singular points of their lives they have forgotten were solidified in emulsion or inscribed onto a page, I ride the bus. The bus traverses vast expanses of the imagination, each intersection an unfolding drama that pulls me in, each new passenger a narrative unraveling. Yesterday we sat at a round metal table in the parking lot on Congress Ave where they serve coffee and I remembered the man in the Hawaiian shirt who often takes the same bus. He stands on corners with a sign that says, “Anything helps” or “Homeless Vietnam Vet.” Once I had taken the bus downtown at dark in a foul mood, and he had called out across the coach, You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and then he pulled a crumpled zinnia out of his backpack and handed it to me. He rides with me again, he doesn’t remember, tells me I’m beautiful or asks me to marry him. He never remembers.

I toy with the idea of myself stepping onto the 338 crosstown bus and transforming into something ravishing, a bus princess, who emerges forty-five minutes later at the intersection of 45th and Duval, the intersection of this dream and real life, the same unremarkable self I was before 8:22 a.m. when the bus hissed to a stop in front of me at Manchaca and Lamar.

Why I am thinking about the bus in the parking lot on Congress Ave, I don’t know, because the parking lot is filled with people in sunglasses and dogs and the coffee is hot and my daughter is rocking forward and back in her metal chair and asking to go see the garden at the chic motel next door. Maybe it is just this sense that each one of these provocative moments, the bus, the parking lot, the girl rocking back and forth in her chair, are pressing from the inside of me, struggling to burst free to relieve the ache of this sense of passing, of missing, of losing these moments, all these moments.