Faces Down

“I think this song is about Jesus.”

“I wish it wasn’t.”

“Maybe it doesn’t have to be.”

She turns up the music and pretends the words mean more.

 

A spiky-haired woman stands at the bus stop. A teenage boy and girl walk next to her. The girl smokes a cigarette and walks up to the bench. She looks down the street to see if the bus is approaching.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” She apologizes to the two women sitting on the bench.

“I didn’t see the ‘No Smoking’ sign.”

“Sorry y’all,” the teenage boy says with a wave of his arm dismissing the smoke and the incident.

“It’s a surprise anyone can see it,” says the woman holding two bags of groceries.

“Next time, just tell us to walk away and get that shit away from you,” Spiky Hair offers. She discusses plans with the teenage girl who is going to work on finishing her schooling and getting her cosmetology degree at the same time.

“I can do both,” she asks. Spiky Hair affirms with a simple “yep.”

They all ride the bus for fifteen blocks. Spiky Hair finds a woman she knows from her days at a halfway house.

“Is Shelly still there?”

“Shelly Padalecki? She sure is.”

“I always liked her. Tell her I say hi if you see her.”

“I will.”

Spiky Hair and the teenagers arrive at their bus stop. The teenagers walk out first. As Spiky Hair walks out, she says goodbye to her bus seat confrere.

“Good to see you again. Don’t forget to tell Shelly.”

“I won’t. Ellen, right?”

“Elena.”

“Right!”

“And you keep going hon. You are worth it. You can do it. Do it for yourself.”

Spiky Hair disembarks and joins the teenagers in the public transit sprint to her connecting bus.

 

Jon Foreman exclaims, “There’s gotta be something more than what I’m living for.”

“You’re sure that’s about Jesus?”

“Yup.”

“Can’t it be about something more?”

“Than what he’s singing for?”

“Exactly.”

“I suppose.”

“Are we in the say anything safe space?”

“Go for it.”

“What if I don’t really want a TV or smart phone or laptop or car or nice clothes? What if that doesn’t make me happy? How can I be happy when other people barely get by? Should I spend my life grabbing and grabbing with no thought to anybody else? Who really gives a fuck if I only have two outfits? Who cares? And why don’t we care instead that some people have one or none or a minimal amount of food? Why should I buy new furniture for my apartment when people die every winter due to exposure? What the fuck?”

She sucks in the nicotine and makes a mental calculation of her possessions. Her mind drifts in the silence between songs just before The Mr. T Experience shout their love for Paula Pierce.

 

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