Ted Travelstead’s Missed Connections

 

Do you remember when we first crossed paths, my sweet? Me, fresh from a three-day trip crammed between two boxcars, one toe gone to frostbite. You, stepping on the gas at the intersection of Third and Briar as I pawed at your window at the red light, my saliva-drenched beard glistening in the morning sun. I could just make out the first two letters of your fast receding license plate, a “J” and an “A,” before the full force of an oncoming laundry truck sent me into a fitful brain-impaired slumber for the next three months. Oh, sweet destiny, I beg you, let us cross paths once more!

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To the raven-haired goddess I locked eyes with last Tuesday while busking with my homemade penny whistle, and then again two nights later as I stepped from behind a parked car on Court Street with my lute in hand and a song on my lips—a song I’d written especially for you, entitled, “Sometimes a Kiss From a Stranger Is All You Need To Feel Whole Again.” As I was halfway through the first verse you sprayed me about the face with a vile substance, the thought of which still makes me shudder in pain. I’ll never forget that wonderful moment we shared, my dear. Please get in touch so I may finish my song!

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To the lovely lady I encountered at the university’s duck pond on March 17th, 2011: Greetings! I was the rather energetic gent talking animatedly to the air beside him (a small medical issue that’s since been remedied). You, if I remember correctly, were disguised as an elderly snow cone vendor (impish!) who was struggling to hold off a mob of aggressive geese. As you rammed your cart into the advancing flock and broke a bottle of (lime?) flavoring in an attempt to fashion a crude weapon against their attacking beaks, I couldn’t help but think, “Here’s a beautiful and clever bird I’d like to get to know better.”

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I don’t know your name, friend, but my memory of you could not be clearer: The moonlight bright like a midnight sun, casting shadows on your supine body tangled in the sheets. My “love gift” to you successfully placed on your nightstand, without disturbing your peaceful slumber. Me, across the room, climbing slowly out of the window as my bushy, gray beard tickles the thin material of my black cat suit. And then the stumble, a fall through dense thicket, a crying out, sirens and footsteps, a dog’s painful bite, multiple jolts of electricity and swift blows, an appearance in court, and a long time to reflect by myself in a structured environment. Did you enjoy the gift?

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What a wonderful time we had dancing in the Sheep’s Meadow of Central Park, friend! I saw you watching me bopping through the meadow with my headphones on and an a capella doo-wop mix blaring in my ears. As I swayed and grooved through the throng of people I noticed you winking at me in such a rapid manner, you seemed to be actually calling me over with your wonderfully expressive eyes. I loved how even though you couldn’t hear my music you followed the movement of my body with yours, shaking all over with delight when I arrived in front of you with a spin and a lively kick. We moved together wonderfully, and when you pulled me down on top of your writhing body, I must admit I was shocked! But pleasantly so! Then suddenly you were gone, and I was left scratching my head as the gurney you were on disappeared into the ambulance. It was only then I realized you were having a seizure. I do hope you’ve recovered nicely. Shall we dance again soon? Please get in touch!

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Looking for the lovely young woman who took my lunch order at Hardee’s a few days ago. It wasn’t until I was back in my telemarketing cubicle preparing to eat, and unwrapping the pinecones from the old pillowcase you handed me, that it dawned on me I might have accidentally wandered into an abandoned Hardee’s. I have to say it did strike me as a bit odd that an employee of a fast-food restaurant would be wearing only a child’s pajama top, but you never know what new-fangled promotions are being touted these days! I sure wish I’d introduced myself, or at least corrected you, when you yelled, “Order ready for thunder-breathing Christ dragon!” When I went back the following day the building was burned to the ground. Bummer. If you’re out there, please find me!

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