Sunday, May 12, 2013

Conversations with Strangers. PART III.

Arrive at park.

Notice a guy folding up an orange blanket and looking like he is going to leave.

Walk to my usual spot, on the hill, underneath the tree, just far enough away from the bench. Set my bag down and take out my maroon, plaid blanket.

Guy wanders aimlessly away from me through the park. I try to ignore him.

Call my mom. Chat about the difficulty of meeting new people.

Guy comes back around and passes me while I talk to my mom. He takes a seat on the bench. Pretends to read. How do I know he is pretending? Too much page flipping and nervous energy emanating off of him. I end the call with my mom and decide to draw.

Draw the swing set. Modify it because I don’t want four swings, just two. It’s an ok sketch, but not wonderful.

Pull out my journal of short stories and start reading the next story – it’s about a soldier.

Think I hear a cicada and remember that I had the same thought when I entered the park. Just one cicada. And then it is gone. Probably not a cicada. Regardless the noise makes me miss Korea. Weird to miss Korea because of an imaginary cicada.

Distracted from the story about the soldier, I start trying to draw a cicada. I only saw one up close once. It was so LOUD. Deafening. Weird ancient looking creature. What did it look like? How big were its wings? I attempt to sketch one.

It looks like a fly.

Try again.

Give up. The google will help me when I get home.

Start writing another letter to my friend in Navy Basic. The story about the soldier made me think of him.

I was lying on my stomach, but now I am sitting. Criss-cross apple sauce, as my students like to say.


I had forgotten about the guy. He is obviously yelling his question to me, but I can be cold at first. I roll my eyes. He can’t see my face. I ignore him.

He comes over. Starts a conversation.

“What are you writing?”

“A letter – archaic form of communication, I know.”

Fuck. That was pretentious. I am pretentious for the rest of the conversation.

He offers me a spritzer – I am unclear what that even means. I like sparkling water and assume it is similar.

“It’s sparking water and juice.”

“Seems French.” 

I continue to be pretentious – I don’t even know why at this point. He is from Seattle. He is not wearing shoes. His Ray-Bans shield his eyes from my pretentiousness. The things I talk about are ridiculous for a conversation with a stranger. Somehow I am talking about refugees and Boise’s public transit and geography. I mention Russia and Korea.

I am an ass.

He is polite – talks about the Payette, his love of Idaho, asks me about my plans for the weekend. I look at my phone, vaguely talk of movie plans.

He tells me to enjoy the movie and makes his move to leave.

It is a bit of an awkward parting.

“Take care!”

He grabs his orange blanket and book from the bench. Walks past me through the park.

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