As the Northern Hemisphere thinks about thawing for the summer, I think about love. Fabulous love. Lots of love. Of all kinds. Here’s another story posted on the Daily Cabal in the way back.
Every day I watch the people on the bus over the top of my math book. I’ve given them names. There’s Hate Boy, with his swastika earring, who moves his seat anytime anybody who looks slightly black or Jewish or Asian or gay or Hispanic or interesting sits near him. He doesn’t mind Talking Guy, though, who mutters and smells.
There’s Beautiful, who is. He’s in a band. He dressed up as Barbie for Halloween, and looked awesome. Hate Boy never sat near him again.
There’s Knitting Lady. Once Hate Boy asked her in his tough-tough voice, “Could you stop? The clicking is driving me nuts.” She said kindly, “No, dear.”
Hate Boy is running out of seats on the bus.
People always sit down next to Knitting Lady; she feels like that. When I read A Tale of Two Cities and got freaked out by Madame Defarge, Knitting Lady called me over and said, “Come sit by me. You don’t anymore. The needles bug you?”
Then she saw the book and smiled.
I sat down next to her again.
She said, “Those aren’t the only kinds of messages people knit, you know. It’s been used for lots of codes over the centuries.
“String is one of the most important human inventions. Fire was a big deal, sure. But string! New ways of carrying things—new weapons—even clothes for the first time. We began to knot it, knit it, weave it…messages, accounts, all manner of things.”
While she talked I thought the sunlight from the dirty window faded for a minute and fire lit her face.
“You can also use it to knit things together,” she added. She looked at Hate Boy when she said it.
A week later a white girl with long dredlocks and a diamond in her nose got on the bus.
Hate Boy made fun of Dred Girl’s hair, then her nose piercing. She just looked at him and shrugged.
I got the flu a month ago; when I came back Hate Boy wasn’t around. An old Asian lady hobbled onto the bus and the hot guy sitting next to Dred Girl gave up his seat for her.
“I always think of you as Math Girl,” he smiled down at me in a tough-tough voice. “Where ya been?”
His hair was grown out, his swastika was gone. Knitting Lady saw me staring and winked.