Beauty & Buddha, A Rumination
-Devin N Morris

I wait for the ten minute late 7:30 PM express to New York on my way to home Brooklyn from hometown Baltimore. I board at 7:58 PM. 

I have an affinity for the retail-like regimented coordination of the Greyhound Bus Station. The stillness of waiting, being in a fishbowl sea of swaying travelers gives off a buoyed-with-anticipation gelatinous air much like that of a Walmart check out line on the first of the month and during the entire holiday season. 

An expansive rectangular box of a room this Greyhound bus station is. One wall lined with glass numbered doors exiting to the boarding platform are all assigned a different destination. Brown plastic columns run lengthwise down the center of the room acting as dividers to the stadium seated bunch and the travelers waiting in lines in front of numbered doors. Pale approaches in a spectrum of honey browns from the floor’s warmly toned tile mosaic. The dark brown columns slip in and out of the mind’s consciousness leaving me to interpret them as my brain would like. Off white painted sheet-rocked walls sport two parallel stripes running chair-rail length around the room. I look down upon feeling my phone vibrate, I receive an email from Buddha. 

I look up and see HIM in profile. Sporting a neatly trimmed beard with accompanying mustache, skin colored a little deeper than roasted cashew brown with a low fade leading up to a black fitted cap. His chiseled features are slender and more triangular in their proportions, distinctive and very pleasing to look at.  Addictive, I’ll need to behold the image for a minimum of two hour intervals for the next twenty days at least before I should have the strength to look away. From the collar of his ashy black denim jacket explodes the cascading mountain of a powdered heathered gray sweatshirt. Perfectly weighted and falling casually upon black-flecked medium tone heather gray sweatpants with a whisper of dropped crotch seduction, tapered through the leg and descending into butterscotch nubuck Timberland boots with the proper dual tone translucent pink and creamy yellow sole.

Such sudden allure leads me to wonder if I would want to foster a relationship with this man if I choose to pursue him? Bored by reality, I dive back into my obsession, his beauty, and due to the need of distraction, back into the email from Buddha. Upon a second inspection I deduced the email’s origin to be from a Buddhist Baptist.

Tell me, when fingers are directed towards you in accusation, is the act irresponsible?  I guess Buddha lacks responsibility for his role in the actions that he allows to affect him. Said email was very pointed. 

Why write anything when you can meet and talk? It’s a cold thunderous autumn upon us so maybe Buddha feared the approach of a storm, deeming the trek to the local coffee shop to be a dangerous one. It is early October and the leaf falling season is upon us. Everyone take shelter immediately. 

I would just die to be able to jump in a pile of leaves. Sadly, such luxuries are foreign to life here in Brooklyn. Unless I move to one of those neighborhoods I find necessary to compare to my hometown of Baltimore where the leaves are plentiful come September. The fallen leaf wonders the eye and sole of foot all the while caressing the body in a fiery hug of reds oranges and burnt caramel somethings. These beautiful leaves are illuminated with the fire of death. We must remember that, Autumn, being the season of the phoenix, encourages renewal.

Hurrying over to the restroom in a breathy cloud like skip I feel enlivened and carefree, boldly gazing at all the stadium seated occupants of the station, shamelessly curious of their every observation all the while wanting to break out in a small dance of anticipation/ anger? In the bathroom I overlook the welcoming two wall urinals that sit one on each side of the red haired, red pant wearing cute chubby traveler peeing so gingerly in the center urinal. The man walking before me passed off the stall that I chose with a glance and headed instead into the first available stall on our right. A few steps later I see the snub is due to a neatly draped toilette paper barrier situated atop the toilet seat. It’s pleasing to disrupt the  white lightweight paper frame and clear liquid with my faint yellow colored pee. I use my right foot to push the lever that flushes the bowl clean presenting a primed canvas for its next participator.

I await the departure of my red pant friend at the XLERATOR hand dryer. I dry my hands before exiting the restroom and glide across the station in return to the travelers’ lounge, where I and Beauty anticipate the arrival of our late bus. Here my confidence dissolves into a pit of raging butterflies busying themselves in my belly as someone now occupies my seat and I am forced (compelled) to sit right behind Beauty until our bus arrives. He occupied himself with music being delivered through white earbuds hanging from his ears. I sat and thought of my destination, Brooklyn. Tenements of a machine-made nature and the inhabitants and their acceptance of factory model life and factory model branded style. I was thinking of the cycle of life in New York and my gentrifier status. 

Nothing’s original but the look of the rare lost face in the crowd in my neighborhood. The foreign one, most recent to bite the forbidden apple, I tap him on the shoulder and direct him back to his small hometown. A reminder that no one wants to make you feel more comfortable by the act of gentrifying the remains of grit in this neighborhood to suit your sub-urban fantasy. My sub-urban reality. 

There will be no adult swim watching here, or perhaps there will be. And these animations will inspire costumes or "looks" as the party set is so inclined to define their evening rave looks. What the hell do you wear when you're not in a look. Looking people we are. Back to you the lost one, let's meander into the cafe there. There's a gay guy who runs it whom I think is quite attractive but very factory made so you know, an original like me will be overlooked for the next Mattel made specimen that creeps in. I should exercise my gym membership. The object of his desire is a dusty blonde, black peacoat wearing gentle boy who inquires as to the likelihood of receiving a coffee drink that also has electrolytes. He is assured that said anomaly exists, the Coconut Water Iced Americano surfaces and one is informed that you are not to brew the coffee with coconut water because the electrolytes will dissipate and the coco water will no longer be raw, fruitful, desirable. A travesty! 

Buddha and his email creeps back into my conscious. A digital impression of my faults masked as incites/ suggestions, therefore mirroring his inability to communicate feelings. I wonder where the insights lived when we laid in the night’s dark and the morning’s light. Exposed and persistent as they are now. Gaze not into projected apparitions I tell myself. It’s hard sometimes to understand the fragile. I decide to not reply.

These wanderings happen every day in this holy land. By the way, who sent you here? Was it the New York Times, Bushwick Daily Newsletter, or was it one of those convenient door to door weed salesmen who quits their job to travel the rainbow terrains of Brooklyn stealthily depositing setiva and indica fragranced greens into the anxious hands of the NY go-getter. Please tell me which pop article read you; I wonder where in New York Beauty lives, Harlem maybe? I’m guessing and hoping we take the same train when we depart, that would lead him to Brooklyn, to me.  

I notice that he noticed me noticing him and in turn he now appraises me. I feel hopeful. While deep in thought the bus arrives and eager travelers, I included, quickly rush to form a line at the assigned door number 1 for our express trip to New York City. We arrive only 15 minutes behind schedule. Seeing as Beauty and I walk from the same general direction he ended up standing directly behind me in line. He carries a lime green trimmed black gym bag of considerable size with a black book bag on his back. I lug a mustard yellow Longchamp carry on tote and a vintage brown monogram Gucci knapsack that was a gift from a friend. In my eyes we both look vain and aesthetically attuned. 

My new imaginary Brooklyn friend longs for the day when he will feel as comfortable as Beauty and I in our status as “New Yorkers”. I am not bitter, I am the Oracle removing the veil from your eyes and draping it instead over your heart; which is the greatest commodity you own and love will be the first desire you relinquish. Your best bet is to protect that thing and ignore any opportunity to fall in love with anything but a promotion at work or the opportunity to venture two more stops closer to Manhattan because your friend is finally escaping the hoopla and heading to Long Island City. Sad her. You will snatch that lease from her and schmooze your way into the local bar scene, all the while being ignored because you're too eager to befriend the local set of budding financial advisers,fashion people, and start up victims. Be in a rush to be victimized by your success. And I mean do not, fall in love. You my friend are irresponsible with your dreams of love and splendor. Might I direct your attention to the Halloween decor, get into character, character. Where are you coming from again? College, huh. That makes plenty sense, you’re proud of your university standardization. Institutional creatives thrive here in this creative cesspool. 

I have no doubt that an approach from myself to inquire of Beauty and I persons having a burger and fries over cokes would most likely be accepted and if not, at least appreciated. Did I tell you about my Buddhist friend? Well that was failed love. You know, vision is 20/20 in hindsight, that’s why I always look back and give advice from there. The back seat of my existence is where I last had intercourse. 

Heading to the bus my butterflies take flight once more as I can feel his eyes and tapered mustache boring deeply into my neck all the while searching my soul for signs of empathy, humanity, responsibility. I am very aware of his close proximity to me as we both enter the bus. The choice of seat will define the terms of our tango. I head to the back because my first seat inquiry is believed to be held by a bottle of Pepsi. 

He chooses the aisle seat three ahead of mine on the right. Existing forever in my view but never will a number in my phone next to a name and small photo materialize. As we both head north my eyes close and I awake as we approach the boarder of NYC. Sure that I will quickly enter the first available downtown subway train with nothing more than the bags I left Baltimore with, hopes of love and a future with Beauty dissipate with the increase of my metropolitan anxiety leaving my desires once more forever left in refrain. 

"Bambi in the Tub"
A Photo experiment
Photography & Styling by Devin Morris
Model -Bambi
Makeup -Kayleigh D'Anne
Hair -Rachel Hopkins