Monday, July 28, 2014

the Man Who Might Have Disappeared

As I was sitting at a red light, I saw him across the street, standing at the bus stop. Only he wasn't standing. He was dancing. He had a guitar strapped to his back, the neck pointing downwards and to the left. It would be impossible to say what he was listening to through his oversized, white headphones. Clearly it was something worth dancing to, worth getting excited about.

I watched him for the length of the red light—watched as another man walked up to the bus stop from the far side, watched as the two men started talking. For a moment, I thought they could be getting into a fight. But no, seconds later the dancer was jovial again, the other man placid.

The man with white headphones and dreadlocks spun the guitar over his hip and began to play. A variety of cars passed, and each time, he leaned into the street just a bit, playing for the drivers. This lasted only a few moments—certainly no more than a chord or two for each car—before the guitar was returned to his back, his dancing recommencing.

I did not know how long he had been there, nor how long it would be until the next bus pulled up to the stop.

Since I was at a red light, cars continued to pass perpendicularly to me, causing the entire scene to unfold in quick flashes. He was there, he was not there. He was there, he was not there. The dancer in sight, a car, the dancer, a car...

I thought, I would not be surprised if this man suddenly disappeared as one of these cars passed by my field of vision. Just like in the movies.

Are you watching closely?

Soon the light was green. I drove forward, passing the man who might have disappeared while waiting for his bus.

He didn't disappear. I was the one who came and went, not this dancer with white headphones and a guitar and dreadlocks.

Or maybe he simply hadn't disappeared yet. Maybe his disappearing act was meant for someone else.

He was there, he was not there.

I was there, I was not there.


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