Sunday, March 20, 2011

Afternoon at Owl

I'm following someone and the group he is with is staring at me.

I've seen this man before, the boy, as I call him. He speaks so seldom and when he does he seems no older than 18. This isn't to say that I'm attracted to children, but his face is misleading. The shirt he wears is open, button front and bears a velvet cut out on the back reminiscent of ancient Victoria. His face is scruffy with sleepiness and his voice and intermittent wordings speak of the same.

The group he is with is having a band meeting. They are serious and drinking round after round of cheap beers. Beers. Like a twenty year old would say.

I've seen him here before, where he sat directly across from me, as I am doing now. He was writing in his little notebook. I wrote a poem about him that night, making the artful if not chiched reference to writing about someone writing.

I think the basis for this attraction is his resemblance to Jared Leto, an earlier fascination for me when I was a teenager. His almost Southern, uninterested but not in a pretentious way, baby face has such an appeal. The way that scent carries most of our memories, coming of age television does, too.

I was at the bar earlier with my friend Sarah and this boy kept walking back and forth, up and down the bar looking into the cases of cigars. He walked up to the loose tobacco designed for pipes and stared into each glass container. I was hoping to catch his eye as he walked past dreamily. This didn't happen. I'd smile as he passed behind me, me unnoticed...him, not. "Who are you smiling about? The guy with the scruffy face?" Says my ever perceptive friend.

The fun part is deciding what more can come of this. When you run into a memorable face the second time you decide that it means something. Even if he is no older than 18, 21 or even 23, there is an essence of mystique. The last time I felt this way my radar carried me straight to a poet. One of the most talented people I've ever met, and someone I've shared many lives with.

I can't say if the same is true for this encounter, but the fact that my interest is peaked enough to follow him to the back of the bar and stake out a seat across from him is very telling.

I could look over right now and see the flicker of recognition in his eyes, but that would require courage. He would not talk to me in front of his people. He just sipped his beer, now in a glass. His voice is deeper than I thought it would be. "Yeah." "Yeaaah."

I want to know what instrument he plays. Does he sing? Where can I see him in his element? I may never know. This may be my last encounter with him, though I imagine it is not. The Owl is a small place, and the people who come here tend to come back. My frequency here is increasing so my chances are good.

I imagine the day that we do get to speak to each other; when I can tell him that I've written a poem and a story about him. I don't even know his name.

He's the boy in the velvet embellished shirt for now. The one with the little black notebook.

I hope to meet you someday.

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