Friday, October 22, 2010

Seven Eleven

It was a strange day. Ninety two degrees and June in San Francisco. You had a seven year old’s craving for a Slurpee even though your were twenty five,  and I had a roll of quarters in my pocket to do laundry later. Yours and mine. We stopped at Seven Eleven, remember you kept opening the door and closing it just so you could hear the bell? You did things like that back then, things I found amusing for only a little while, and remembering those same things now I realize it’s what I hated most about you. You pulled the lever on the Slurpee machine while I looked through magazines. Sometimes it was nice to take a break from all that contemplation your twenties brought, all that thinking of what your purpose is in life, why you’re dating such a loser, and just flip through pages and pages of meaningless gossip. Other people’s problems. A hand reached over me for an issue of French Vogue. Yes, Seven Eleven carried French Vogue if you can believe it. “Excuse me,” the man said with an accent. I looked up and he was wearing an oversized grey hooded sweater. The hood slipped for a second and there he was, His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama. I wanted to get down on my knees on that dirty Seven Eleven floor under those neon lights and bow. And pray. For what? This holy man, dressed like a thug even, radiated something. A glow in his eyes, perhaps the same glow the monks who came searching for him saw too. A glow that said all is well. All is well. He looked so happy and proud reading that magazine and I just stared, I mean stared so hard he noticed. “This issue I edited,” he said. His face was on the cover with a rainbow behind him. I wanted to take his hand and put it on my forehead, to make him bless me. He smiled and headed towards the register. I followed him ghost-like. I wanted to keep him away from you. I wanted everything holy and unreal about this moment to be mine. I wanted all the blessings for myself. He paid for the magazine and the Indian cashier looked irritated by the Dalai Lama’s slowness. He handed the cashier a dollar and asked for change. Quarters. “No change,” the cashier said, “none.” I couldn’t see his face then with his back to me but I think even the Dalai Lama would’ve been dissappointed. I tapped him on the back. He turned and I handed him my roll of quarters. Placed them gently on the palm of his hand as if I was the one blessing him. He smiled and he knew that I knew. He bowed slightly and I bowed back, and that was enough.  Just as the bell on the door rang and he left me I heard you slurping in my ear. I never did see you after that.

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