All the Giants

April 28, 2011
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“What other authority could she have? Only when a story was finished, all fates resolved and the whole matter sealed off at both ends so it resembled, at least in this one respect, every other finished story in the world, could she feel immune, and ready to punch holes in the margins, bind the chapters with pieces of string, paint or draw the cover, and take the finished work to show her mother, or her father, when he was home.”
-Ian McEwan’s Atonement
It was one of those grand days: One of those days where you wake up and have a complete and utterly fictional plan of how you want the day to go. And from the moment your eyelids open, the plan meets life.

There was a woman who sat across from me on the bus that morning, about 3 feet away, sitting with all the content the Lord could give her. If I recall correctly, and my apologies, reader, if my memory obscures the truth, but I believe she was wearing almost all blue that day. Her white clogs and light blue hose constricting her fair skin, and her quaint little white plaid skirt with a light blue blouse completed her wardrobe that made me relinquish my hubris and begin the development of an eye that notices the splendor in details. I couldn’t tell what she was reading, Jane Austen, maybe? You wouldn’t know if I couldn’t remember. But she was no doubt holding a book on her left with her delicate fingers in between some pages to hold a spot.

“Is there somewhere you may need directions too, ma’am?” I asked, most likely insulting her intelligence.

She cleared her scattered brain and figured out I was the one talking to her and responded with a simple “No sir, I live here.”

“You live here in this New York? Then tell me why I haven’t bumped into you before on the number five bus?” I asked.

“If you must know, and I am certain that is not the case, I live across town. I am just visiting a..” she paused. “..well, friend, I suppose.”

She opened her book and began to read it and I, puzzled by her charm and ability to draw me in with her secret-marred disposition, studied her a bit more.

No, reader, I was by no means committing such a sin as lust for the woman. I just merely wanted to notice her existence, her art of living.

The folk up in my city come and go quicker than I can stop to realize what a diverse but deprived climate we lived in. Humanity will go on without me unless I was there to keep an eye out for it. The world was my charity, and to it I bequeathed my attention.

I recall what an old teacher of mine said back in grade school: that “people don’t want to be set straight.” Without a doubt, I stand behind this notion because in reality, the people who walk around us daily are focused on their own steady course, their own self-created fantasized ego that when disturbed, produces reality.

She could feel my eyes on her soft skin. My emotions were boiling up by the second and I could feel my legs tremble. I had to follow her, I had to watch her. Never in all my experiences has another being ever made such a communication, such a powerful longing.

Her arm stretched up and pulled the stop cable and before I knew it, she had gathered her belongings and gotten up to stand by the exit door. All was going well because I knew she would say something to me; something similar to our interaction before. She would acknowledge me one more time before leaving our deadened fantasy for the jungle that lay beyond.

We stopped and so did all time as she pushed through the glass and out onto the curb. Frantically, I tried to get up in time, fighting against the surge of people piling on the bus. My flight to her world was a failure as the doors closed and the bus driver remarked,

“Sir I don’ think you real’ a need that gal. And I know you get off that that big ole park yonder. Sit down and hol on.”

My quest was unsuccessful. However, as I gazed out onto the sidewalk where another man met up with her to walk together. They shook hands at first and then they hugged and continued to walk down the sidewalk amidst the masses. With little laughs here and there, she had a companion; someone she would be perpetually comfortable with. Despite my loss, my heart was full of joy for her; full of joy for humanity!

I walked to the back of the bus where I was sitting before and I was frustrated that my seat had been taken. As a matter of fact, all the seats were taken and I was stuck standing, and holding on to one of those silly grasps. But alas! I felt the world’s struggles for one day and now the young woman was greeted with the calling of the world of the saints. Now, and most likely not ever again I was touched by the light of the sun and the light of our great human race. Thank the lord! Thank the lord!

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