I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Bus Rolls On

The days are numbered.

Overhead, the intense blue of a Minnesota sky pours down upon us, an early-fall blessing.

Be happy, Minneapolitans. 

The bus is full:  there are two to a seat, there are folks in the aisle.  I had been lucky to get one of the last of the seats, next to a sharply dressed woman with a book in her lap. 

There is little room for us, and yet the mood is upbeat. 

Can a whole bus be happy?

A woman with spiral hair steps aside to allow a woman with a brightly colored ponytail a little more room, and they smile at each other.  A very large man in a suit and a man in kitchen garb work their way toward the back exit, get off at the next available stop, and they all laugh as they squeeze by each other:  excuse me, pardon me, so sorry.

I look up to see a man in the aisle five, maybe six people away, staring at me. 

He looks so familiar, and yet he seems too thin.

David!  A fellow bus rider.  I haven’t seen him for years, I think.

I give him a big smile, and he raises a hand, smiles back.

David is brilliant.  Our talks were of horticulture, of birds and the politics of a simple life.

At the next stop, the aisle clears enough for David to make his way toward my seat.  Pardon me, he says.  Excuse me.

“David!” I exclaim.  “Where the hell have you been?”

And then I see it: a slowness.

Oh, David.

“Pearl,” he says, smiling.  “I’ve been gone.  A year and a half.”

“Where?” I say.  “Where did you go?”

He shrugs, leans in so close that our noses almost touch.  I resist the urge to kiss him.    “I ask myself,” he says.

I wait.

He lays a cautious finger on his temple.  “Part of my brain is loose.  Guess it has been since I was born.” 

Eyes locked, we laugh, just a little, and I feel something in the center of my chest twist.

“What do you mean,” I say.  “How is your brain loose?”

He shrugs again.  “It was a very hot day, I remember that.  And now –“  He trails off, looks out the bus window.  “They’re holding my job.  I’m very lucky that way.”

The bus slows, and he turns back to me, looks deep into my eyes.  “Here’s my stop,” he says.  “I’m so glad I saw you again.”

“Me, too,” I say. 

The back door opens, and David steps off the bus.

And overhead, the sky reaches upward, endlessly.


32 comments:

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Oh, Pearl. This post made my heart leap. We're supposed to mind our tongues here, I know, but there's no other words for it: This was effing amazing writing.

Pearl said...

Thank you, Dawn. This was Tuesday afternoon, and there was something most memorable about the bus, even before I saw David. Seeing him again put a poignant twist to the afternoon: the happiness/contentment around me, the changing seasons... It still almost hurts to think about, you know?

Delores said...

The calendar pages turn, the clouds blow by, the sun rises and sets....we are all together on the bus and yet so far apart.... I hope Davids life improves and that you see him again.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Oh my...poignant doesn't even begin to describe this Pearl. That it is also the third blog in a row that I have read today with similar depth and feeling causes me to ponder the effects of electromagnetics, planetary movements and the Common Mind. We are all linked in one way or another - your link with David is clearly worth the noting and perhaps by this recognition our thoughts will draw together to pool in his 'help' bank.

You are a locus of goodness, dear lady...and you know how to spread it. YAM xx

Mandy_Fish said...

Wow. You've left me speechless.

Pearl said...

Delores, well put. We are all on the bus -- and yet so far apart. How true that is.

Yamini, why, thank you! The Common Mind is something that will figure into my readings this coming year, so I love hearing this!

Mandy, I hope that's a good thing. :-)

Leenie said...

Amen to the above comments.

Pearl said...

Leenie, thank you.

Douglas said...

David's explanation will haunt me for a long time. How does a part of a brain become loose? What part? What did he mean? We are so fragile...

Joanne Noragon said...

There are Davids in our lives. We embrace them with our eyes and minds and hearts and they know and appreciate it.

jenny_o said...

His description of a part of his brain being loose could be so many things - a stroke, an aneurysm, a mental shift, a tumor - but the important thing is that a good person did not leave this earth before his time ...

Eva said...

I too am speechless (in a good way too). It's incredible how the people who float in and out of our lives can have such a profound impact.

Daisy said...

Oh my. What a heart-wrenching tale, Pearl. It's amazing how quickly a person's life can change. Things happen in an instant.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh! Your posts are so HUMAN (when they're not about cats).

Geo. said...

One of my favorite poets, Jules Laforgue, could transport the reader to his time, his keen observations amid the moving frame of his city, the elevation of objects into symbols. I feel the same amazement at your work, and appreciation.

vanilla said...

Another beautiful setup for a poignant tale of real life as she is lived. Which of us knows on which hot day...

Mandy_Fish said...

It IS a good thing! I tweeted and Facebooked the shizznit out of you today.

Elephant's Child said...

Oh Pearl. This is beautiful. And reminds me that while I am in awe of your observations and your writing it is your heart which keeps me coming back.

Gigi said...

Not only did my heart twist for this unknown-to-me David, but tears started leaking. There is only a thin line between a brain that is firmly entrenched and a brain that has become loose.

Lin said...

I love those sort of "friends"....I call them "everyday friends." One of mine was the pharmacist at the local Target. He'd always ask me when the baby was due---because I was on prenatal vitamins to help with my anemia. He knew it was safe to tease me that way....and I looked for him to do so.

I went one day to look for him and I heard the pharmacists talking. He had a minor surgery and threw a blod clot and died.

I still miss him.

I hope you see David again.

Daisy said...

Little to add to the above comments Pearl. Thank you for a deeply moving post.

maurcheen said...

Oh Pearl, what are you doing to me?

The bus, a mini-world. :¬)

xxx

Pat Tillett said...

Wow! That was really good Pearl.
People are in and out of our lives and sometimes, we don't even know it.

Rosemary Nickerson said...

"...and overhead, the sky reaches upward, endlessly."

The cold, unfeeling sky seems immense in our days of grief.

Pearl, you struck a cord with this one, for sure.

Rose L said...

You made me cry. My husbands "brain was loose" for the last several years of his life (frontal lobe dementia-he died last Nov).

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Bloody hell this was a good post

jabblog said...

Just one thing can change the mood of the moment. Sad.

River said...

so sad Pearl, reminds me of a friend who had a mental breakdown. He looks the same, but his eyes are different now, and he no longer has the quick jokes we both used to laugh at. I hope your Dave improves and gets his job back.

Linda O'Connell said...

The winds of change blow on all of us. It is amazing when another soul can touch us deep inside merely with their presence. Wishing the best for David...and you too. What a gift a smile is.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Pearl, you never cease to amaze me. I admire your writing so much. This is absolutely wonderful. Poignant. Telling.Touching. Beautiful. There are not enough words to describe. Kudos to you.

Diane Tolley said...

I am looking out into an impossibly blue sky here on this crisp fall day in Canada and thinking of the 'David' in my life. She just told me that she has been take off chemo for good. And now we wait.

ellen abbott said...

Whoa. Life is...unpredictable. The body, the brain betray you.