“Of course, I wasn’t sober” he says to me while describing the time he saw Stevie Ray Vaughan – a month before he died in a plane crash. When I first got there, to order my salad with salmon steak, he asked to bum a smoke. Yes, salmon steak. It just sounds so much meatier that way. I told him I only had a couple cigarettes- which was true, kind of. I had four and a half.
Then I thought of those long bus rides, stopping at bus stations in the middle of nowhere. No gas stations in sight. Out of cigarettes myself. I thought of the older African American woman who bummed me a smoke when I really needed one.
I looked over to the door, and saw this guy frantically searching the park for anyone who might be smoking, anyone who even looks like they might be a smoker. I took two cigarettes out of my pack, grabbed my coffee with my other hand, and walked out the front door. “Here you go, man. I had more than I thought” I tell him. His eyes lit up and he thanked me profusely.
We talked about music, and shows we’ve seen- actually just shows that he’s seen, I was just enjoying listening to the stories. I let the fact that I am a musician come out, and his eyes widened and lit up all over again.
I went back inside and he followed closely, pumping me for more information about playing music. I gave him my number and told him I would be happy to help him out with some guitar lessons. I haven’t heard from him yet, and I doubt I ever will, but the way he treated the bartender makes me happy about that. She is a friend of mine, and he was doing that thing that a lot of men do to women they don’t know. Just can’t get past the fact that she is beautiful. Just can’t respect her for who she is- another human being.
After I ate, I took my last two cigarettes and left.