This blog post started out as a letter to a friend about something that happened to me on my way home. Depending on your belief system, I guess you could say that about anything. The letter, somewhere along the way, tried to turn into a prose piece. I let it. Some things walked in out of nowhere and asked if I'd write about them. So I did. There is one thing I should make clear. If you don't live in Canada, you might not know that the slang for our dollar coin is a Loonie. It's called that because there's a Loon (a bird) on the back of the coin. No one even notices the strangeness of the name anymore.
A Bus Stop Friday Night
I'm downtown, 11:30 pm, on a strangely quiet for the moment Friday night, waiting for the next number 4 always late bus to take me to the place I often call home. I'm at my usual spot which has drastically changed. And no one consulted me. It's a little North of what used to be “The New Yorker,” a theatre of light and sound that the film of my life used to wander into on many a magical, younger night. At the moment, it doesn't feel like all nights are magical. I know that's not true, they are, but it's always a little sad down here at night these days. Too many ghosts quoting my poetry. Too many once upon a time places. Too many unseen at the time chances missed.
My waiting spot is next to that big, empty for years, old time bank with pillars, building. It's that never known what it was, out of the rain, Arizona coloured pottery in the rented windows, place across from the guitar shop where one of mine came from, a head shop that sells everything but smoke blind visions, and a used bookstore that sells used books. Actually, the whole street somehow feels used and now unusable. It all looks like a chapter I haven't written yet of a book I'd like to read if I could find page 1. It all looks like someone else's time. Not mine. The Arizona art's long gone too, fled with its dry desert wisdom hopefully intact. And the usual refuge from tonight's absent rain is blocked off with concrete, wrought iron railings, and a padlock. “You can't even get through to the times between,” a tired voice says. So I guess I'm moving on to drier pastures. Next time.
For now, I watch two lovers sway down the street, a little drunk on the love that drowns them. Leaving life behind, they lean against the closest wall and remember with kisses why they came to this place, this existence, this sometimes beautiful expression of the energy that they are. It's a strange message they now transmit. Half love, half loss. His hand, her cheek, and for a moment, it seems like I can almost be there again. But not quite.
I'm digging in my pack for a sweater now to keep away the cold. I see a woman pass by me, then I look up and see that she's turned around and headed back. She walks up to me and says,
“Would you like to have a loonie?”
“Would I like to have a loonie?” I think I've misheard.
“Uh, no thanks.”
“But thank you though.”
“OK.” And she walks away, back the way she came.
What a kind heart. Half the block past me before seeing where her coin belonged, then all the way back anyway. And wasn't offended when I declined the innocent offer. I know what she was thinking. I don't mind. I'm grateful. There are times when Light reflects off a passing heart, and what we are shines through the mask of everything that broke and every dream that didn't seem like much to ask for. How loving people are sometimes and how mysteriously perfect are the gifts we sometimes give.
I didn't need her coin. I did need what she gave me. I think I'll keep it a while till I know that it's always mine. Then I'll pass it on.