When he sat down next to me, I first noticed his droopy eyes. His crumpled body took the shape of the steel café chair and he stared at me with his lids nearly closed. Each time he blinked I thought he was falling asleep. And maybe he was. But he kept taking drags on a half-burnt, yet currently unlit cigarette so I figured he was over-medicated. He reminded me of students I used to teach who often came to school high as a kite on anti-psychotics. I spoke to him with exaggerated lips so he could read them. Even still, he leaned in close for me to yell into his ear.
How are you?
How are you?
Good. What are you into today?
I don’t know what you mean. What are you into?
You’re into Picasso?
Well then I guess I’m into Matisse.
I made a Matisse in the forest and plants started to flower all around me.
Oh yeah? When did you do that?
I don’t know. Maybe yesterday I think.
After a few more drags on his cold smoke, he burst out laughing then asked me if I knew he was French Canadian. I told him I did (he tells me as much every time we talk). He asked if I liked Cherokee Indians and I said I did, even though I am not too sure if I do. Which is to say I’m sure I don’t dislike Cherokee Indians but I can’t honestly say I have any specific reasons for liking them either. He returned to his saggy staring, now focused on the ground. Until he spoke up again.
Hey – have you ever felt a global shift?
A global shift?
You did? When?
No, no. I haven’t felt one. Have you?
Oh yeah. Sure have.
Whenever I look at the stars.