The inventor

The woven gold belt, he said, was alluringly intricate. Fine layers of golden threads held together by coins, upon which stories of pilgrims were drawn. The magnitude of these creations ran in the thousands, both in time and distance.

He is sitting next to me on the bus on his way home from the exhibition. I see his comforting white hair. A few wrinkles sit on his face, but otherwise, his skin is soft and peachy. He smiles at me with the grace of time. I myself am wearing a shirt and dress pants. Thankfully no tie though. The juxtaposition is eerie for enough. Either I suddenly feel older than I am or he seems younger than he is.

There was this device they would use to spin apart gases, he says. The heavier ones would drift off to be scooped up nearer the edge. It was done with the assistance of valve driven computers that filled entire rooms. I forget there was a time before transistors.

The rest of the bus remains quiet. Everyone still seems to be away this early in the new year. The familiar route home passes by, but a bit faster than usual.

Some others at the university, he continues, were looking into solar energy. They would shine light onto various materials in labs in an attempt to harness energy. Clever folk nowadays figured out a way to increase surface area using microscopic angles. There’s a while to go still.

I mention three dimensional printing. He takes the curve ball enthusiastically, commenting on the implications for development. We will be able to create things we never could before he says. It’s cool inside. The afternoon air feels slower now.

As we near my stop he manages to tell me about the autistic kids he’s now working with. They have underdeveloped motor systems and just need a little help to get the muscle memory going. He’s spending his time now to create tools to this end. They’re clever and they love mundane tasks he says. I asked him if he knew any personally. He didn’t really.

I bid him farewell and leave the bus to be greeted by the afternoon heat. Sitting down, I loosen my buttons and run my hand across the grass while watching vehicles, people and and the untamed sky go by. The bus ride for him is still going.