- A true story.
I was on a bus one day, a long time ago. I saw this man, sitting directly across from me. He was maybe 60, 65….bald, fat, and special. He was wearing rainbow suspenders, like the electro-magnetic spectrum. He stood up to get off the bus and I followed him. He seemed superimposed with special colored molecules flying all around him. I asked if he wanted to come over for lunch. He said “OK” and we both took a bus back to my house.
My roommates were very flustered. They asked me to please make him leave. I told them that they brought friends over, so why couldn’t I? They said it was different, meeting a stranger on the bus and taking him home.
I said that he was staying, and I began to prepare our lunch. He pulled out from the refrigerator the few remnants I had left and began to assemble them, creating penguins with hard boiled eggs, olives for the feathers, and a tiny carrot for the beak. Then he looked at me seriously. He asked that we hum the sound “Aum” together and so we did. Then he tapped my forehead and did the same to his. I felt our minds converge on the second floor…in the same space. He just smiled. Then he took out an old photograph from the 1960’s. It appeared to be a bunch of hippies behind an old school bus, laughing. I felt like this photograph was a dream I have had before, and in it I had planted seeds to metaphorically bloom decades later. He simply showed me the photograph and then put it back in his pocket not saying a word. He took out another photo of himself with Henry Miller in Big Sur. He said they had been great friends. He said he also helped Terry Southern write Easy Rider and he took out a photo of them together. I wondered why he wasn’t on the credits but that seemed an inappropriate question to ask, and when I was with him, in that moment, it didn’t seem to matter “who got credit” for ideas generating from the same source.
Then, suddenly, he said it was time to go…and so we said good bye.
I watched those rainbow suspenders walk away until I couldn’t see them anymore.
I can’t say exactly what happened that day except that it seemed to change me. It has made me less afraid of dying and is compelling me to tell you, the reader, all these years later, about that man on the bus…with the rainbow suspenders.