Monday, January 31, 2011

The Hippies

Lounged in the sun on the stone steps this afternoon. Bought a sandwhich and brought my sister; we studied for a while. When the sun went behind the clouds and the temperature dropped, we started talking to the juggler and the harmonica player who had shared a can of corn on the steps below us.
They told us about their hitch hiking around Italy. They depended on people for food and for a couch to crash on.
We are living like, how do you say, Jack Kerouac. On the Road Again. said the harmonica player. Tonight we are staying at a Communist ladies house.
They were both going to school for Chinese language, Mandarin. That's almost as bad as my Classics degree. They looked cold, dirty, hungry.
For breakfast we had a big glass of milk each, then we climbed that mountain. The juggler pointed.
I stared. I longed to say Take me with you! I'm quitting school, and I will travel with you, depending on kind people. I could play the tambourine. You could teach me how to juggle. It will be fun. Let me go grab my back pack.
But I didn't. I have paid a lot of hard earned money to be here, to learn Italian and Art History. I need to stay still sometimes, in one place, to learn things in a classroom instead of through experiences. As much as every fibre in my body leaned towards moving forward with them, I chose to stay here. Maybe I am growing up.
We had to go soon. As we left, I said Here. Have an orange. and I offered them each a Clementine.
Thank you so much! This is wonderful! they said.
I smiled. You need your vitamins, I said. You should stay healthy. And I shook my finger at them, like a scolding mother. They laughed.
I laughed too, but inside I was sad and curious about what would happen to them. I wanted what happened to them to happen to me.
Maybe next time.

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