Spend a wonderful Sunday with my old roommates watching fútbol matches on a homemade big screen that hangs from a wooden beam in the living room. Say “see you guys soon” to everyone, take the T, make my way into the very poorly designed South Station bus terminal. Stand in line, talk to Mami on the phone for a few. See a cute guy; look away.
Get on the bus and scan the scene for remaining seats. The cutie has a free one next to him, but would it look desperate if I sat there? Let’s not risk it. Keep moving down the aisle, find an empty window seat near the back. Sit down, put earphones in, head against the rest, eyes closed. Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s been a fun weekend.
The last few stand-by passengers stream in. Tall, good looking guy asks if he can sit next to me. Silly question, of course he can.
Quietly mind my own business, until he asks how long the ride is… Skip ahead four hours: we haven’t stopped talking, or laughing. Every topic –from sports, to travel, to electric violins, to his band, to why I got my tattoo—is covered. We probably annoyed everyone on that bus; we honestly couldn’t care less.
Arrive in the City that never sleeps (true foreshadowing of my life). Numbers exchanged, hug given, each of us on our own way. A fun, chance encounter, and possibly nothing more.
Receive text message the next day: name and address of the bar where his band is playing the following night. Recruit three friends, although two end up backing out.
Tuesday night rolls around with rain, the annoying type. N will be meeting me there a little later, so I venture out. “What will the night bring?” I wonder as I hop in a cab, amused by the fact that I am headed to a bar in an alleyway in Chinatown, to see the band of a guy I met 48 hours prior. My verdict: “Who cares? Just live.”
Phillip checks my ID at the door. Pull aside the heavy, red velvet curtains to enter. Eyes not adjusted to the darkness, I stand still. Beautiful singing, drums, piano and, oh, there’s the electric violin. So that’s what it sounds like live… Interesting.
Make my way to the bar, pass the band. He sees me, we exchange a head nod. Leaning against the opposite, far wall, I listen. Nice sounds, lovely melodies.
It’s time for a drink, with guava, por favor. Oh, and a strong dose of whatever you’ve got behind the counter.
A couch opens up, I pounce. The set ends, he gives me a hug and introduces me to what seem like wonderful people. A little later, N arrives, and a new set begins. We laugh, enjoy ourselves, wait for the set to finish. And then, of course, we all dance.
We keep dancing, and dancing, and dancing… And we laugh, and laugh, and laugh… And we have a genuinely good time. Great company, great DJ, great drinks, organic fun. Infinitely present in these moments, tomorrow is so far out of sight.
Suddenly, 1 AM sneaks up on us –the little creep!—and we say our goodbyes. The office awaits in a few short hours.
Walk down the alleyway, hop in a cab. A kiss on the cheek for N, buenas noches querida, my partner in crime. Let’s dream about what tomorrow may bring. You never know if it’ll show up in the form of a cool stranger on a bus.
Seconds before sleep swiftly takes me on my next Wonderland ride, I think: it feels so good to be alive.
This is life. To be continued.
Photo: Belén Alemán / Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA