Buddha and I were having a beer. Actually he ordered a hard cider. Before he invited me out to the bar, I had always thought Buddha didn’t partake. Come to think of it I never pictured him doing much more than sit on his ass with a big grin on his face. After a few ciders, I clued into the cause of his happiness.
We lived in the same neighborhood. We first met at Max and Cherry’s Laundromat and Gift Shoppe. We were folding clothes at adjacent tables. He was buttoning up a Hawaiian shirt when a long sigh left his mouth. I looked at him and he caught my eye. He smiled and nodded toward the shirt. Just remembering, he said. Have you been?
Maui, I replied. I swam with a sea turtle.
Buddha chuckled. They sure do stick their necks out when they want something.
When he first introduced himself, I misunderstood and thought he said, Buddy.
Hi Buddy,” I said, shaking his chubby hand. My name is Mark.
He mumbled something I couldn’t make out, but before I could ask him to say it again, Cherry appeared. She was behind my new friend and could barely touch her fingers as her arms wrapped around his belly.
It’s so good to see you, she said.
She extended her hand toward me. Hi, I’m Cherry.
I shook her hand but in the process brushed my fingers against Buddy’s belly. I remember thinking it was simultaneously as hard as a turtle shell and as soft as a cumulus cloud.
I am Mark, I said. Continue reading