The week David started as a chef at the Four Seasons, they found a rat in the kitchen.
“I’m not really a fine dining kind of guy,” he said, his face pensive. He was a mountain of a man, filling the driver’s seat to bursting, reminding me of Mr. Incredible crammed in a business suit.
“I’m going to stop driving when I pay off the Prius.”
I let the silence breathe, and he tells me he loves fishing. He tells me he’s going to write a cookbook, because he was given a legacy of Japanese recipes.
“Someday, maybe I will,”
He says –
* * *
Mohammed was a journalist for ten years in Mauritania, North Africa. It was dangerous to write there. “Were you afraid?” I asked.
“No-ooo,” he shrugged, “I just got used to it, I guess.”
He is studying Human Resources, a doctorate degree. When I misunderstood and thought he said something in politics, he laughed and said “maybe I will. Maybe I will study politics, and go back and change things in North Africa.”
I let the silence rest again, easy and welcoming.
“Someday, maybe I will.”
I left my notebook behind in Mohammed’s car, or in David’s, so I’m jotting their stories here, for now. There are many more details I will add, so you can feel them, see them – these Uber drivers.
When I left one of their cars, I felt I had donned a heavy lead-lined cloak of despair, woven from burst pipes before thanksgiving, rusted underpinnings in a House said to be a blessing, a marriage handed as a someday vision while underneath – oh, underneath, I had a vision of myself choking on mud under that house, my broken fingernails scraping for a way out. The world was all grime and graffiti, and I raged at the hopelessness of it.
When I left the other car, I was light, the world sparkled, and fairy lights shone in the water, gleaming blue, gold and rose in beauty that had me gasp in delight. “Yes, it is beautiful,” he said, happily.
– oh – I nearly forgot the lawyer; how delightful he was. We were breaking the rules, tried to board twice, and he got tangled in the fence separating one side from another. To laugh together was such a simple moment of complete connection, while the guard glowered.
Where are you going? Where are you staying? “I don’t want to go to Cincinatti,” he said, with the air of confiding a shameful secret. “The meetings last ALL DAY, then you go out afterward with the same people.”
His face was so wistful, the sparkle faded.
“Then leave afterward, and hear some music,” I said.
“Maybe I will,” he answered, his smile returning.
I’ll learn to create the energy I wish to live inside, not take on that of others. I’ll learn to lend my own lenses. I’ll learn the kind of strength that can give the gift, and paint despair with brighter hues.
Someday, maybe I will.