October 06, 2009

Miracles: Part One

He looked at me, breathless with exhilaration. His lithe form shaped a smooth curve against the purple drop light and sent a primitive signal to my brain and heart. Mine, I thought.


We ate cheesecake at the Grand Rapids Central Bus Station. Digging into the last strawberry slice with my fork while he took a regular piece, eating it like a pop-tart, we waited. The past two days and three nights have come and gone already, but my heart would not could not hurt. It had happened, over and over again. The same pain in the chest. The same longing embrace. The same tears. Eventually, you learn not to cry. Definitely do not look him straight in the eyes. If you do, then your composure will crumble. But that doesn't mean you love him less, just too much that it hurts every time he gets on that Greyhound bus and disappears like a ghost.

Was it just a dream?

"Hey," He holds your chin between his forefinger and thumb, pressing the buds of his lips against yours, "Did you enjoy it?"

I smiled, but I didn't answer. He liked to ask questions he already knew the answers to. With a sigh I leaned against him, the thick leather jacket massaging my cheek and tickling my nose. His arm was around me and he squeezed my shoulder.

Around us buses came and went. People milled about, seemingly aimlessly, when in fact they were only trying to keep out of the cold. A guy was strumming a five-thread bass guitar, and we stopped to look at him. He was a middle-aged balding black guy, though his real age was disguised by his solemn expression and thick winter coat. Skinny as a twig. One of Grand Rapids finest. I yawned and set the cheesecake down on the last bench, next to the food and drink machines. It was 7:12AM, and way too early to be awake.

His hand drifted over to mine, nudged it, then, when he had met no resistance, he gripped it hard and gave another squeeze.

"Hopefully next year I'll be living with you. Here, in this city."

"You can go to the community college here. It's really good, for a community college." I added, a hint of disappointment in my voice.

He didn't catch it, "I was thinking of that." You could be so much more, "But first I have to pay my bills off and get some money."

"Maybe next time you come up, we can go to Michigan Works and see if they can find you a job."

"Sure, why not?"

He grinned, showing his chipmunk teeth, popping out from the rest of his crooked mouth. He had so much more to do to get back on track. He had to go back to college, get his own car, find his own place to live, and get a good paying job. He wanted to be a vulcanologist, but he needed at least a Bachelor's Degree to be any good. He had to do internships and research projects with other colleges and students. Right now, he was taking baby steps. Right now he finally had a driver's license and a minimum-wage job with good hours.

But he has to keep going.

Don't stop.

Don't give up.

"You know," He leaned back and finished off his cheesecake slice, "I can see me marrying you, having kids, and growing old together. We'll sit down on the front porch and look back at our life together and be content. That's what I want."

Not fortune or fame. Not books, art, or movies. No fancy treats, no citadels, no white wine or expensive silks. A hand. A kiss. A vow.

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
Te amo, mi corazon. Te querré para siempre.

While around us people looked at each other with blank faces, blank hearts, erasing themselves before someone recognizes them, God acknowledges their sins and raises his fist in Armageddon. A killer's on the loose in Baton Rouge again. The Twin Towers were blown up, thousands dead, another thousand injured. We are the enemies of our enemies, and gold is our only friend. Rivers run red with Rwanda's people, Sudan's boys, China's citizens, until all we eat is raw, bleeding flesh, all we drink is red juice, enriched with vitamins A, E, and C, the nutritionists say. We are cannibals, you and I.

But right now, as the Greyhound bus pulls into the station and you stand up to shoulder your bright orange hiking backpack with a grunt, our primitive nature is subdued. We have learned to look beyond ourselves, beyond our own ambitions, and except another way. Someone else's way. By some miracle of God, a girl born in Seattle, Washington to a divorced family was able find love in a California boy who lost all his chances, but still doesn't give up. And they have made a vow. Love, Family, and Empathy. For better or for worse. 'Til death do us part.

1 comment:

  1. A more sappy piece, I admit. But I can't help that selfless love is a true miracle in this world.