Two men, both wrong. Separated by fifty years in terms of age, and several hours in terms of my day. They speak with authority, but I know they are wrong. “No, this shuttle doesn’t go directly to the airport. It just picks us up and takes us to the central station.” The Texan. The chiseled jaw. “I’m waiting for them to turn the cabin lights back on. They always do.” The older gentleman. White hair, speckled skin.
Their women just say, “Oh.”
I wonder, do they too know their men are wrong? Or am I alone in smiling and nodding and ignoring the ignorance?
He asks if he can use the other outlet. I nod, and he sits. He needs to charge his iPhone to load a map. He’s scared and excited and wants to chat. I ask if his parents are nervous about his moving to the city. He says, “I’m not gonna lie, I’m a gay Jamaican man. My parents haven’t been in my life since I was 16.”
I say, “Oh,” with sympathy.
He tells me about his house in Florida, the one he bought by working at Ruby Tuesday’s and renting out rooms. He tells me about dance, about his friends who move their bodies magnificently, about his show in June and the rehearsal he missed tonight. He has perfect skin and dazzling teeth. He wears sunglasses, and skinny jeans tucked into beige boots. When he gets up to leave, he slings one giant duffel bag over each shoulder.
He says, “Amazing things happen to great people.”
I say, “You know, I think you’re right.”
What I really think is that I hope he’s right. But that’s close enough, isn’t it?
Lorenzo, wherever you are, I hope the city doesn’t eat you up. I hope you stay as pure and beautiful as you were for those fifteen minutes in the airport. I hope you see my name on bookshelves, and I hope I see you lighting up the stage. Soon.