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A divine encounter, p.1
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       A Divine Encounter, p.1

           Matt Kuvakos
 
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A Divine Encounter


  A Divine Encounter

  By

  Matt Kuvakos

 

  A Divine Encounter

  Copyright  2016 by Matt Kuvakos

  For those who think they are forgotten. You are seen and heard by the God of the Universe.

  A Divine Encounter

  Rye watched his breath drift into the cold air as he pretended to smoke a cigarette within his imagination. He missed cigarettes, especially the feeling of the smoke whirling within his lungs until blowing out the dark cloud, calming his nerves. He tried to relax, but that was proving to be difficult since the back of the bus stop bench made him feel like he was being pressed into a waffle iron. He finally settled with his elbows on his knees, leaning forward watching cars pass him by. As he waited, he imagined himself standing outside of the bright entryway of the hospital.

  In his mind he saw the sliding doors open as a paramedic shoved Rye out of the way, wheeling in a motionless body on a gurney. Rye could only see a hand dangling off the edge, lifeless. A muffled echo from the intercom spilled outside, calling for assistance in the ER. Rye saw himself take a step back, but when the sliding doors went to close, they stopped and began to make a buzzing noise while locked in place.

  A car alarm was set off down the street, pulling Rye out from his imagination and back to the bus stop. The bus was running late and as each second ticked, he debated in his mind if he should just give up and not go. In fact, a big part of him, if not most of him, didn’t want to go. After all, he was only a few minute walk from home. He didn’t have to do this. His knees bobbed up and down rapidly as if he was trying to run away while sitting.

  The waiting only made him more nervous. In high school he was told by his math teacher with crooked glasses, “Sometimes waiting will make the answer come to you.” Rye agreed with that, but this time he was scared of what the answer might look like. Rye noticed a group of people walking out of a church across the street. He couldn’t remember seeing a church there before.

  The building looked as if it had been transported directly from France. There were two tall stone towers on each side with glowing lights, shining on two wooden crosses. “The Paris of America,” he thought aloud. He had never been to France, but he remembered watching a documentary on his crumbling city that gave Detroit that title. As he thought of what Detroit could’ve been, Rye slumped down deeper into the bench to try and escape the sting of the wind while his eyes remained fixated on the church.

  He buried his nose into his wool jacket and looked toward the group of people that had walked out from the church and were still talking with each other. The massive doors creaked open again, releasing an orange glow from the inside along with another man. Rye naturally focused on this man. He stood out from the rest. He was older with long tangled grey hair that covered a white v-neck shirt with a smiley face scribbled on the front.

  “Hey, see ya next week, Charlie.” A few people from the group raised their hands toward him and started to head down the street together.

  “Always. Love you all.” Charlie waved, laughed a deep throaty laugh, and blew a kiss toward them with both hands while balancing on one foot. He then held the position while chuckling to himself for a few seconds before lifting his jean shorts back up to his waist that had started to slip off. He then shuffled toward the bus stop where Rye began to shift his position, hoping this guy was not going to sit next to him. He got his wish in that he didn’t sit next to him; instead he sat on the ground cross legged, facing him.

  Charlie leaned back onto his elbows and looked straight up into the blackness of the night sky. He made this position look natural, as if it were his job to stare into the sky and wonder. “I love the cold.” He said while exhaling. His voice was gruff, but peaceful at the same time.

  Rye wasn’t sure if he was talking to him or just himself so he stayed quiet and started to dig for his phone in his pocket. He really didn’t want to talk to anyone. Not on this night. Especially to a guy giving off a crazy person vibe.

  “I think it makes you feel so much more alive. All senses of the body are heightened, until you go numb of course.” Charlie laughed a quick laugh before introducing himself. “I’m Charlie, by the way. Where you headed?” He extended his hand toward Rye.

  Rye stopped his search for his phone, and surrendered his hand to Charlie’s dirt stained fingers. “I’m Rye, and I’m headed to the hospital…I think.” Just saying where he was going made his gut burn.

  “Sorry to hear that. No one makes a trip to the hospital for anything good, unless you’re having a kid. I guess that’s a good thing. But, I don’t think you’re having a kid since the bus would get you there a few hours too late.” There was another chuckle from Charlie.

  “Nope, no kid for me.” Rye nodded, and turned to look down the dimly lit street, where he saw two more people bundled up, walking hand in hand. He hoped him looking away would end the conversation.

  “None for me, either.” Charlie shrugged, and still looked at Rye even with him avoiding eye contact. “You look young; do you want kids?”

  Rye could feel Charlie’s stare poking him as if it were a pair of feelers from a bug. Even his eyes seemed to ask Rye questions he didn’t want to answer. “Hey man. I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel like talking.” Rye stuffed his hands into his pockets. “You seem like an interesting guy, but I would just like some quiet.”

  Charlie smiled a bright smile, surprising Rye. “That makes sense to me, with your hospital trip on your mind and all. But, I’m afraid those are some bad manners.” Charlie went to a knee before reaching underneath the bench, and pulled out a pile of blankets. “I mean, you’re in my house after all.” Charlie motioned for Rye to scoot over a bit and sat down next to him with the pile of blankets on his lap. “And I also believe in divine encounters. So, can I at least guilt you into some conversation?” Charlie held that same bright smile as he spoke.

  Rye was bracing himself for a sermon, from the least likely of sources. He looked toward the church and then leaned forward to see the suddenly empty street with flickering overhead lights.

  “Alright, you’ve ‘guilted’ me into conversation, but I don’t think this is anything divine.” Rye said.

  “Beautiful.” Charlie clapped loudly once. “You look like a man with a lot of questions flying around in his head. And that intrigues me.” Charlie stretched a blanket over both of their legs. “As for that divine encounter stuff. Well, I believe every conversation with another person is divine. And it is through people and their stories where I see God the most.” He patted the blanket flat on his lap.

  “Ok, I guess that makes sense.” Rye cleared his throat. “You’re right. I am a man with many questions, and here’s my first. Why are you living on this bus stop?” Rye was still trying to evade the conversation and thought this may bring it to a crashing halt.

  “Because, it’s where I belong.”

  “How do you belong here? You wouldn’t feel safer in that church you came out of?” Rye asked, pointing toward the cross.

  “To man’s eye, I’m a victim.” Charlie wiped his running nose with his arm. “But to Gods, I am what I am. It’s just a building, and no I wouldn’t feel safer. I’m far from the things that hurt me when I’m living here. No motivation, you see?”

  “Motivation for what?” Rye asked.

  “I can put on a fake face with the best of them. I’ve done all the rehabs and meetings. I’ve ‘gotten my life together.’” He did the universal motion of quotation marks and nodded toward the church. “But it was when I was comfortable, where I would find myself motivated to hurt myself the most.”

  “So you put yourself in uncomfortable situations on purpose?” Rye looked at Charl
ie like he had been wanting to for the longest time, like he was crazy.

  “Sure.” Charlie laughed his throaty laugh, throwing him into a coughing fit for a few seconds, allowing Rye to see the hospital in his mind once again. The burn in his gut returned.

  “Enough about me. You’ve had that look on your face since I got here. Is it about your hospital visit?” Charlie asked as he spat out in front of him barely missing the edge of the blanket.

  “Sure.” Rye said.

  “I’ll finally ask, then. What’s the reason you’re going there?”

  “I don’t know why we’re talking about all
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