Sunday, April 15, 2007

last night

Joey and I walked in the hate crime vigil last evening.
At the end, we walked back towards the parking place with an elderly woman and we began to talk.
Her name is Irene.
We walked and she talked without ceasing.
As she spoke, I was drawn in like water spinning into a clear drain.
Irene is 72.

Irene is a freedom-fighter.
She identified herself as Portuguese.
She says that she is anywhere someone is being discriminated against.

Irene wanted some soup so we went into a popular deli-style restaurant.

I never even asked her if any of her children were gay, but she did mention grandbabies.

She told us that her husband had been abusive and that now she is alone and happy.

Irene is a county bus driver.
That just about blew my mind.
She said she started out driving a church bus and just progressed from there.

While Joey was up from the table, I asked Irene how she came to her philosophy of life, what led her to be an activist.
She told me that her father was an abusive alcoholic and beat everybody in his family.
She said that later on, when she confronted him about it, he said that it didn't happen.
"How could I be mad at him?," she said. "He didn't even know what he had done."

She said that one of her brothers still hates him and that she keeps telling him, "He's dead. Let him go." The brother refuses.

She said that holding on to those feelings was only destroying her.

She is one of the most marvelous people walking the earth. Maybe last night I bought dinner for an angel.

I told her that I didn't think I could do her job. All of humanity appears on a bus. That's tough.
She said that while it was true there can be tough situations, most people just want to get where they are going. By the time they get on the bus, they have probably already walked a long way in the hot sun "so they are already mad."

She said that no matter what happens, no matter how abusive they may become, she apologizes sincerely if the bus is late and if they curse and threaten her, she says, "Go ahead. I love you anyway. I love you! Muuaaah." She hugs them. They walk away.

"You can't fight love," she told me. You Can't Fight Love.

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