He’s got that blue collar presentation: sturdy work jacket with ‘Bill’ embroidered on the right chest patch, the clean Saturday jeans, Brooklyn accent, burly body. I’m sitting in a camping chair out in back of Ric’s apartment building under budding trees beside a bayou drinking my tea. I like this spot. I watch skittering squirrels and Red-Wing Blackbirds. On the opposite bank, a black-and-white cat hunts in the rushes and reeds.
Bill and I are surprised by one another. Nobody uses the back. We both think we can sneak quietly around unseen.
He stops. We shake hands and exchange names. He asks what I’m doing, and I say writing, and he asks what I’m writing, and I say whatever is on my mind, and he asks what I do, and I say I teach meditation, and he says oh good, he’s learning that now, with his group. He asks me if it is spiritual in nature.
Now, I don’t know Bill and he has startled me in what I have come to consider my own private back garden. This sudden question makes our morning brush intimate. Shall I divulge? I look into his pleasant smile. It’s a personal question but he has enough sense to ask a good question. He asks the sort of question that someone who actually does meditation would ask. He has tipped his hand. Because he asks this question, I know his meditation is spiritual in nature. I wonder if he is Catholic or if he is learning a Buddhist practice, but I don’t ask.
I say, “Yes.”
He nods. We have a moment here. A moment.
Then I say, “Yeah, its hard right?” And he says yeah, especially with all the noise going on in his head. I agree and we laugh. He says have a nice day and starts to walk off. Then he pauses and turns to toss over his shoulder, “Its an inside job.”
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