May 05, 2007

An old spontaneous story

You want that sort of how do you say... coffee shop meeting. You meet a boy in a little independent coffee shop somewhere in north beach. He's sitting in a corner bench covered in pillows by the window. In his hands, he's holding a ratty looking old hardbound book. Everything he does seems of an intellectual. The way he sat, how his striped collar shirt pokes out from the top of his old wool sweater.

You go up to him, you arent nervous. He spots you and cant help but smile. He moves his curly hair out of his face and glasses and offers you a seat. You move first by asking "watcha readin'?" He chuckles and can only say one word. "Faulkner".

Just the name Faulkner brings a mystique about him. He sets the book down and pulls out another book. The Grapes of Wrath. He certainly likes his classics you think. He apologizes for himself and explains he's a high school english teacher. He doesn't conform to the reading schedules schools provide for him and encourages everyone in his classes to read as much as possible.

You cant help it. You're pretty much glued to the wooden bench next to him. He sees you squirm a little and apologizes again. This time and offers you a pillow. You take it and blush. The thin wiry girl behind the stained counter calls you out. "Order up!" she cries. You flush with a little embarrassment and grab your coffee and sit back down next to your new stranger. Your eyes shoot daggers at the coffee lady. Her multiple piercings flash you with reflections from the old ceiling lamps.

He chuckles and puts the books away. You and him talk for hours on end about everything. The little nit picky details of F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing, or the beauty and simplicity of Hemingway. He notices its late now. You've lost complete track of time. Outside in Washington square, the lights are on and the cathedral is illuminated a brilliant white. He offers you his arm and to take you to your apartment. You tell him, you're an outsider. Not a San Franciscan.

What made him jump in shock, you'll never know. But he stays anyways. Waiting for the bus under the kiosk, the cold night air whips both of you. The bus is here. The electric arms clatter against the wires. You sit in back staring through the back portal and he's still there. The jolt of the starting bus rocks everything and everyone on board. A bag of fruit spills over. An old chinese woman stoops to pick them up. You help her. You look back up through the portal. He's gone. But you dont realize it, his Faulkner is in your hands.

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