Picture 8

“You keepin’ me smilin’ with that deep sexy voice o’ yours,” says a gravelly ball of waning energy on the 358. She’s over forty, mixed race and short, from places I can’t figure.
“Oh gosh,” I say, trying not to blush. “It’s not that good!”
I’m terrible at taking compliments. As a child I couldn’t stand my rosy cheeks, and for a long time thought there must be some way of peeling them off to take them back to normal, the way everyone else’s were. Never ended up getting around to that.

“Yeah it is!” she exclaims. “You should be a radio guy. Should be a DJ.”
Time to change the subject.
“How’s your day been?”
“Uuhh. Busy.”
“I hope in a good way!”
“Uuhhh,” she proclaims.
“Oh no! You got a chance to relax comin’ up?”
“Oh yeah, Friday!”
“That always makes it easier. Even if you’re busy now, when you know when your next chance to just sit around and stare out the window is. You’ve got that waiting on the horizon.”
“Yeah. I got to get ready for Seahawks!”
“There you go.”
“I’m tryin t’ decide whether to make gumbo.”

She said it as if it was a difficult decision. I burst out laughing as we cross Marion Street.

I’m saying, “well, of course! The answer’s yes, you know that!”
She chuckles, adding, “well, my hubby want jambalaya.”
“Ooooohhhkay, I see.” Recognizing the gravity of the situation. “We do got a dilemma on our hands,” I say, pretending to be very serious. “I thought this was between gumbo or no gumbo.”
“Oh yeah that’d be easy. This,”
“That would be a big piece of cake. No contest! Case closed!”
“You got that right.”
“This’ a little more complex right here.”
“Oh yeah!”
“A tough life choice indeed! We got some figurin’ out to do!”
She laughs with her eyes and voice, a husky, fluttering ray of light and rising sound, her exhausting day forgotten.

 

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Nathan Vass is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, and author by day, and a Metro bus driver by night, where his community-building work has been showcased on TED, NPR, The Seattle Times, KING5 and landed him a spot on Seattle Magazine’s 2018 list of the 35 Most Influential People in Seattle. He has shown in over forty photography shows is also the director of nine films, six of which have shown at festivals, and one of which premiered at Henry Art Gallery. His book, The Lines That Make Us, is a Seattle bestseller and 2019 WA State Book Awards finalist.