“Listen, I gotta tell you a story.”
“Sure,” I answered. “Lemme let these people on real quick.”
He was excited, grinning in the dark at Rainier and Othello. By day he was one of those fellows who spin the “Slow” and “Stop” signs at construction sites. Otherwise he was himself, a man who’d survived multiple surgeries and related complications, who’d been told by doctors he’d be dead by now, a stubby older gent whose humble appearance belied the miracle of his every new waking day. He was standing at the very front of the bus, next to me, animated. He leaned forward.
“So this guy I know was plannin’ to kill his wife, murder his wife, and then make it look like an accident, right?”
I struggled to take in the enormity of the sentence and all it entailed. I said the most truthful thing I could think of, which was also the most obvious thing: “That’s a terrible thing to do!”
He was brimming with energy, and slurred past his already shocking statement because, as I was about to learn, he had even more astounding news to relate. “Hold up though. He’s plannin’ on murdering his wife, but before he can–he goes and gets run over by a train!”
“Yeah, he got mangled up so bad… He got so mangled the doctor said they cain’t even do no autopsy. He too messed up.”
“Man! Justice don’t usually work that quick!”
“I know! Crazy, right? He was a bad man, too. I mean bad. Hated women, hated his wife…”
“Yeah, that’s no way to treat a lady.”
“No way to treat anyone! This guy’s plannin’ a murder! Then he goes and gets tore up by the Amtrak! I had to laugh, man. Ah mean you know, but I had to laugh. What he think was gonna happen? Ain’t nobody gon’ notice? Ain’t nothin gon’ happen to him?”
“She’s one lucky girl!”
“Yeah she is.”
“Man! She need to go buy a lotto ticket!”
“Yeah she should! Hell, I may get one for her! She’s a friend a mine, she was hiding out at my house, ‘cause she knew. She heard him planning it. So she was hiding at my spot, and I think he maybe knew about it, where she was. Except don’t matter no more ‘cause brother got creamed. She’s so relieved. This guy was awful.”
“Sounds like it”
“She don’t have to worry ‘bout nothin’ though. Some guy wit’a axe comin’ up on her or whatever dumb shit, that’s the past. ‘Cause he walked out under them train wheels like a dumbass.”
“Wheels of justice, baby!”
“Literally. They were turning real fast!”
“Love it when it works like that. Usually takes forever, right?”
“What goes around comes around. Sooner or later!”
Somewhere out there a woman was starting life anew, and I knew her relief and newfound freedom would permeate out into everyone around her. She would have the Glow, and though most would never know where it came from or why, the Glow is the Glow, and such goodness makes all things better. I was getting it secondhand, through her friend speaking to me now.
His enthusiasm was infectious. It wasn’t bloodthirsty, you understand. It was optimism and belief confirmed, the proof we always hope for and sometimes see glimmers of; glimmers we know we need to cherish. There’s a hint of truth in this mysterious and silent universe, design, workings more intricate and delicate than we can fathom. Sure, this place may be incomprehensible, but isn’t that part of its beauty? We’re so in love with logic we’re too often blind to Life’s unspoken vastness, so in the thick of things we only catch a whiff of understanding with hindsight.
But this… this made so much sense, as brutal as that sounds, so much so that even we small humans could put it together. Of course. Joy was coursing through his veins now, for the life of his friend, for the fun of telling me, but most of all for the deep-seated shuddering thrill of Knowing, for even just a moment: Order. The comfort of knowing itmight be there. Honing the skill of having the eyes to see it. That is what I try for, and that is what I have not attained; it is what I have to be okay with never completely finding. But I can speak for myself when I say:
Along that journey lies immense peace.