"I can't really say when I started thinking about the world," says the old man in the thick fur hat. He looks like a friendly Van Gogh. He chews whatever it is old men chew and sits back in his seat. As the world passes by through the windows of a bus, I half listen and half stare at the drizzled scene. It has been raining for two hours. I have been on the bus for three.
"I imagine it was around the time I got married," Van Gogh goes on to say. "Back when I was in love, that was before the war, you know." I do not know. But I can imagine. Love and war, both very timeless. The old man in the thick fur hat pulls on his ear. I can also imagine that part of it is missing. Back when good friends quarrelled over paintings. It was before a war.
"We didn't know if we would see each other again. I was leaving. . ."
I nod in agreement, though there isn't anything to agree to. "We make plans, you know." That I could agree with. I nod again. "God doesn't agree with our plans." He shakes his head and tugs on his ear, still. "I saw a lot of things. I didn't know if I'd get back to her."
"And after the war was over?" I ask. Van Gogh smiles knowingly and tilts his head back against the headrest of his seat. "After the war. . ." he sighs contently. "I came home to find her hanging clothes in the backyard. She was breathtaking." I pull my gaze from the window towards the old man in the thick fur hat. "I snuck up behind her and kissed her neck."
The particulars don't interest me or maybe they do. I enjoy seeing such a happy man. He laughs. "They don't call it the baby boom for nothing." I share in his laugh, though I don't understand what absence does or how hanging laundry goes. "The world was turbulent then. I thought about it a lot." That I could agree with. I nod again.