So of course I embark on an internal conversation, with no one in particular, asking what I ever did to deserve such a harrowing brush with mortality. No answer. Well, there’s a shock—it would be somewhat disturbing, wouldn’t it, if there was a response? Probably better for all concerned that things remain silent, at least on this particular question. I decided not to worry about the matter any further, but for some reason, I was genuinely annoyed that I had had such a run-in, and, what’s more, that no one much seemed to care.
This didn’t last. One of the more pleasing aspects of riding the bus for fifty minutes in the morning is to look at the pretty women on board. Chicago is a very big city, with many attractive women. And on this particular occasion, I noticed one woman in particular. I did not get her name; I did not talk with her. But I made a very explicit, very conscious decision to look her in the eye, with the express idea in my head to let her know that I see her, that I wanted her to see me seeing her, and that I wanted her to see me. And, what is most important, is the idea that I wanted to connect with someone, however fleeting, for at least that one moment—to let her know, to let the universe know, that this moment mattered, that this connection, however momentary, mattered. That we mattered, she mattered, I mattered—that all of this makes a difference.
She smiled, and I smiled. And I like to think that she knew what I wanted her to know, knew what I wanted the universe know. With quiet satisfaction, I turned my attention again to the grassy park rushing by. I noticed Elvis singing again, and I thought, to no one in particular: “Okay, that makes up for the bee.”