I'm sitting at the bus stop, waiting. For what I don't know, except it isn't the bus. That has come and gone for hours, lingering a few moments as if to lure me into these metal boxes made to cure our discontent but only provides another tastes of dissatisfaction. So I stare at my feet instead of the people placed in roaming packages moving on wheels from place to place to place figuring someday they will reach their destination. But I know better. My shoes tell me that I cannot find what I am looking for only in a place, or even in a person, but in a moment in time that will be locked and lost forever after I do discover it, drowning me in sorrow. This misery is the brutal taste of what my quest is for, what I, Sheila Edmonds, must uncover. That is the secret of happiness.
I welcome you to laugh at my naivety, telling me to drink in the reality that there is no such thing. That is what the man sitting next to me is informing me at this very moment. His eyes are mocking my notebook paper and uneven handwriting that is titled, "The Secret of Happiness". If I turn my head I can see that he is wearing worn-out gloves and a brown trench coat, sneering through his red plaid scarf at my letters as if I told a particularly funny joke.
For some out of this world reason I am drawn to this man, hardened it seems less by the cold of the earth and more of the chill of humanity. Without full realization I form words on my mouth. What do you think?
He looks intensely into his lap, and I can't help but to follow his gaze, though quickly remove it, embarrassed. There are words on his own tongue, I think, but are whispered and muffled by the wind and his scarf-barrier. Something makes me wonder if his scarf is the barrier or if it is something else. Maybe something less tangible, invisible to our eyes but we are caught in it, ensnared by our own misunderstandings. So deeply in thought I almost miss his reply, which I thought to be only the manic whisper-laughter he had proclaimed before. Yet my ears can not drown out these acidic thoughts. Happiness. Happiness does not exist.
My mouth is dry, and I am truly afraid. I am less afraid of this man, than afraid of his philosophy, fearful that his words are not ignorance but wisdom, and if I do not head them my quest is forlorn. Yet this statement would mean that if I did take his thoughts as true then there would be no quest, only a running away from what is real to what are dreams. My mind and tongue are buried beneath these thoughts as my Sage shuffles from the bench to the bus, whispering fervently into his woolen protection. And as I watch this happen, I suddenly want nothing more than happiness to exist. For it to be so real that I can scoop it up and rub it across this man's hands and face and feet. Even if I end up on an escapade for what cannot be, I will be content it is in the pursuit of helping him.
In haste I pick up my notebook and unlatch my frozen fingers from my pen, stuffing them into my bag. My feet make an echo sound on the pavement, which strikes me odd since sidewalks are not hollow. Or perhaps underneath it all they are, but often the bustle of people and voices cover up this hollowness, giving us false reassurance. But my mind is soon off onto other topics, like the long chase I am about to partake in, even if only to fail.