When my mother first moved into this house eleven years ago, it was still possible to catch a glimpse of Mount Hood through her front window. It wasnít long, though, until the trees in the neighborhood blocked the view. Now they are the view, along with dawnís wondrous pale light above them, painted with wisps of cloud.
Most days but at different times, I see a Mexican man in his forties peddle slowly up the street on his bicycle. He has shaggy hair, is thick around the middle, and appears to have no particular destination in mind. I wonít say he looks unhappy, but he does always wear a serious expression, one that is almost grim. I smiled at him once from the sidewalk. He looked directly at me, but his expression didnít change, as if he were trying to explain that future smiles were unnecessary and would be summarily rejected and ignored.
I donít know where he lives, where he was born, where he goes, where he has been, what he thinks, what he does. I only know he is in no hurry to arrive, and that he has strength enough to make the journey. Maybe he is exercising. Maybe he is recuperating from an injury. Maybe his dear sister has died, or his wife, or one of their children. Or maybe he isnít real at all, and my weary mind wills him into the daylight. Maybe he has already lived, and is reluctant to return. Maybe he feels he has already served his time, and resents being called upon to serve again. Maybe he wonders himself. Maybe he is a messenger. Maybe I should step out in front of him one day and see if he stops. Maybe he and his bicycle will enter my body and disappear, or pass through me and continue on undisturbed, without a ripple in the image.
Maybe I am mad. Maybe he is. Maybe he is the memory of my future made visible.
I wonder ó where is he now? Where am I? Am I him? Is he me?
September 23, 2006
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