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Friday, March 28, 2014

Wandering in Argentina I: Godman at Plaza Once

© Shamoni Sarkar


The Godman was dressed in a suit, had round glasses and flaming eyes. He ran on a high down the lines of people waiting for different routes of bus 129. I was waiting for the highway bus because it was the quickest way home. Godman came to the middle of my line and looked everyone up and down (but first he looked at their faces). I heard “Jesus”, I heard “señor”, and I heard “amor”. I was wearing a red sweater over my pink dress and I knew Godman would come to me. He stopped next to me and spoke inches away from my ear about señor Jesus Christ and amor. I looked into his eyes and almost smiled, and his flaming eyes grew wilder. I felt the guilt of looking away. Everyone else was doing it too but I felt the guilt of it. The young mother in front of me put an arm around her son and pulled him closer to her, trying to tell him that he too should look away. Godman kept talking to my ear and to my cold indifference to remind me that I was indifferent. The little son in front of me moved a semi-step away from his mother and looked at Godman to size him up. I was watching the son now. His face had a gentle mischief, and he had the longest eyelashes in the world. Godman noticed him too and met his eyes. “I shall continue to speak even when people do not listen to me. Only the children will understand what I am saying now. The older ones– the ones who don’t listen– will never understand,” he bellowed. “Isn’t that true?” He asked the boy softly in a moment only the two of them shared. The boy shrugged. Godman laughed loudly, patted him on the shoulder and told him he was “beautiful.” Now reaffirmed, he continued down the line and the gentle son watched him walk away.   

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