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"There is a man in London who screams when the church bells ring..."

H.P. Lovecraft

      Every day, as I was riding the train to work (always on the left side, to watch the ominous Chicago skyline grow larger in my window), we would pass a flyover. Underneath the ceiling of concrete and steel lived three homeless men. Every day I would watch them start to rise from their beds (they all had well made beds) or cook whatever food they had over a garbage can bonfire. It was in the afternoon, coming home from work early one day, when I say the railway employees sweeping up the last few remnants of their residency.

Highlands of Scotland. South of Skye. Early Morning.
      Raining, as it did every morning. Narrow blacktop flanked by mountains on either side. Mountains, in every shade of green and purple, down from which wisps of clouds and mist roll and dance, whose unseen summits may very well reach infinite heights. Loreena McKennett playing over my headphones. If I could have been a part of that... leave everything behind and soar up that landscape... be the wind itself... find the source of what I was feeling for this place. My family complains about the seating arrangements on the bus. They wonder why I drink heavily around them.

      Back on the train. A typical, overworked, middle class, middle-aged man is standing on the platform with his four year old son, whose eyes are squinted, impatiently searching. The man points at something behind the boy, a woman exiting the train. He whirls around on his heels, his face undergoing a complete transformation, and he runs wildly towards her. If I could describe the look on that man's face as his son leaped into his mother's arms... I would be a much better writer. Perfect and absolute happiness. As if in that one moment... every dark thought and painful stress melted away and became meaningless... in that one moment of joy.

I would like to think there is good in this world.

I would like to think that.

On a Tuesday evening, I find myself watching people getting on and off the bus from the corner table of a nearby café

I often find myself watching people.  Not interacting with them mind you, just observing. Observation is most effective when your subject is unaware of your scrutiny.  People are truest when they cannot be observed but those ignorant of watchers are almost as honest.  Camouflaged by my tall cup of well-sugared tea, I remain an objective viewer.  Well… almost.  I never can help but feel a little betrayed when the little stories I weave around them prove false. 

Like the consummate business man, complete with suit jacket and tie.  He has a face as free of expression as his suit is free of wrinkles.  I watch him for a while as he stands waiting, presumably for the bus.  He checks his wristwatch every few moments, shaking it slightly as if scolding it for not forcing time to pass quicker.  I have him going home, alone, to a very clean and organized home.  It's easier to keep your home clean if it's empty.  And then she comes, breaking the illusion.  She is older prom queen gorgeous with the look of someone who will always be pretty even if it's only because she'll always believe she is.  She sparkles and laughs as she arrives in a car that probably passed the 'last legs' stage a couple months ago and has since moved on to 'should be dead, but isn't'.  As it groans to a stop in front of my lonely Joe Blow, I notice that her presence makes him beautiful.  With a smile and passionate kiss for a greeting, he climbs into the ragged car.

I watch them leave from my little alcove of observation, nursing my tea, waiting for the bus stop to summon more interesting individuals.  When the evening finally darkens past twilight, I return to my very clean and very organized home, thinking of two beautiful people.


 

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