Published by admin on 07 Aug 2008 at 06:16 pm
Last night, Mr. F and I were listening to records, drinking and talking. He had a Wilco album on that I wasn’t familiar with, and I said I couldn’t remember if he liked The Arcade Fire or not. He just got up and put another record on.
The opening to Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) came on and I smiled. I mean, who has it on vinyl? Mr. F does, that’s who.
I don’t know if it was the breeze coming in through the blinds or the way I sang out kind of shyly, “Meet me in the middle, the middle of the town,” that brought my memory of the man on the bus slamming into my body.
I know this song by heart. It was the one I would try to find on my shuffle when I was riding the bus, and it would make me sing as I was trying to sit quietly next to the man on the bus as he read, and I read, and he wore black and I wore brown.
He had straight reddish brown hair, and a messenger bag, and side burns and he wore aviator glasses. And I saw him almost every night. We both sat in the back of the bus. I would wait for the bus close to the sign, he would stand back, farther away from the old Russian ladies’ elbows. Watching. I was always sad if the 780 came and he wasn’t on it. I made up stories about him in my head. I smiled at him. He smiled back.
One day after I got my Civic, I was driving down La Brea, and there he was. He was walking in his black jeans and black button down, with his black messenger bag. His hair hadn’t changed. Mine had. I wanted to stop and say hi, but the light changed and I drove on.
You change all the lead
sleepin’ in my head to gold,
as the day grows dim,
I hear you sing a golden hymn,
the song I’ve been trying to sing.
The song ends and I’m holding Mr. F’s hand. I’ve been telling him the story, and occasionally interrupting myself to sing a lyric here and there. I don’t know why, but this song gets it so right and it connects so seamlessly with that place and time when my relationship was ending and I was making up stories about strangers on the bus.
That man with the straight reddish brown hair made me feel like I was normal. That living in LA wasn’t as bad as all that. And I never said one word to him. Not even a hello. Once I nodded in his direction, but he didn’t see me and I felt sad that I had missed my opportunity to get a nod in return.
I wonder if he thinks about me. I wonder if he ever sees me when I’m driving by, that girl with the headphones and the reddish blond hair.
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