Monday mornings I ride the MBTA Commuter Rail into Cambridge for a course I'm taking. The class starts at 9:00am and goes til 10:30am, which is convenient, but the way home is always hurried because if I miss the 11:10 back to Concord I have to wait 'til 2:00 for the next one. The class is about two miles from the station in Porter Square, so to make it back there in time is tight. This past Monday I was more hurried than usual because class went overtime by several minutes; But I figured if I didn't dabble I could still make it.
After walking briskly for 25 minutes I passed Peets Coffee across the street from the station and knew I was okay on time. Peeking through the window I noticed only two people at the counter so I dashed in for a cup of java.
Once inside I noticed one of the two at the counter was a guy with down’s syndrome. He was a short fellow, broad and thick, wearing a nearly new Beatles t-shirt. He had non-resplendent cropped hair, harkening barber shop styles of old or attempts to cut it himself at home and he was wearing very thick eye glasses. He appeared to be about my age and relied on his mother to place their order and help him count the change, which I observed they carried out together with the same attention and pleasure one has when opening birthday cards.
Finished at the counter they moved to a booth a few feet from the condiments buffet. After getting my coffee I proceeded to the buffet for milk and sugar and noticed the fellow looking directly at me through the binocular lenses sitting slightly askew upon his smallish affable face.
This affected me and I had an impulse to approach him. But with only a few minutes before the train I fought it back. And like a thousand times before I proceeded with ninja skill to speedily affix the stiff plastic cover of my coffee unit, with it's sharp rim, over top the more pliable yet sturdy enough Styrofoam cup without spilling a single drop when something stirred inside and made me pause and I thought 'fuck it, I should talk to this guy' and so I walked over.
"Hey there." I said, as congenial and familiar as possible.
"Hhhi." He deliberated back in a low voice, raising his eye brows high above his glasses while lowly waving his tubby hand.
"That's a cool shirt, man." I said with more resonance."You like the Beatles?"
"Uuh, yaah, I like vem!" He replied quicker, sliding a smile.
"Who's your favorite one in the band?" I asked, trying hard to be as descriptive and gentle as possible.
"I like Paul McCaraahney" He replied with no apprehension and nearly perfect diction.
"Ah I see you, but know what man, to me it's all about George Harrison" Nodding my head up and down in large slow movements.
"Yaah, George Harrison too!" He said with timber and an ease that years of friendship can bring.
"Well that's so cool man!" I said, slinging my pack over a shoulder. "Hey I gotta make the train now. You have a real nice day, okay?"
"Okay" He affirmed with some sadness "You ave a nigh day choo." a touch of pity in his voice.
As I left Peets and walked over the crosswalk on Mass Ave with its wide paneled lines I imagined the Beatles; Paul, John, George and Ringo on their iconic Abby Road cover walking in line together over the crosswalk to their London studio and was affected at this simple unfolding to a happy and uncomplicated place. What brilliance from a lovely guy adding more texture and light to the day. Thank you, sweet Beatle's man. I know who you are. The innocent are the finest. I made the train.