Sunday, May 20, 2007

Where Do Drifters Go?

Photo not mine, courtesy of bigkyle28

Thursday morning, six-twenty. Already it's a fine day, clear sunshine washing the still empty streets. I'm in my car, a few blocks away from work. I drive past a parking lot on my right. Standing at its entrance is a husky, pear-shaped man. He is wearing jeans and a slate-blue hoodie. His arms are outstretched; in one hand he clutches a worn broom, in the other a dustpan on a stick. His mouth is open and he seems to be singing, like a tenor serenading cars to the lot.

I smile to myself.

Thursday afternoon, twelve-thirty. I'm walking along the seawall towards Granville Island, mulling over my lunch options. The tide is out, exposing the barnacle-crusted rocks that slope down into the water. I pass a worn broom and a dustpan on stick lying on the wall. The pear-shaped man is down on the rocks, grey mud on the cuffs of his jeans. He is still wearing his slate-blue sweatshirt, despite the warmth. He moves his arms slowly, gesturing to the sea while chanting inaudibly. The sun shimmers in his spectacles.

I am somewhat bemused.

Thursday afternoon, one-fifteen. I am returning to the office, again along the seawall. I look for the pear-shaped man on the rocks, but I do not see him, nor do I spy his broom and pan. I scan a bit further along the shore's edge and spot a heron, standing in the water. My heart flutters with possibility; it is slate-blue and staring out to sea.

Something moves past me on my left, and I turn to look. It is the pear-shaped man, muttering incoherently. His hoodie is up around his head, and haunted eyes stare out from behind skewed glasses at nothing in particular. He clutches his broom and pan tight to his chest as he lurches past me. He smells of stale sweat.

I feel unreasonably disappointed.

Jussi Bjoerling & Robert Merrill - Au Fond Du Temple Saint (buy here)
Camera Obscura - Lunar Sea (buy here or e-here)
The Icicle Works - Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream) (buy here)