Today I wrote some about magic, earlier and mostly in my head. But What I want to do now is clear out this pile of pages I have torn out of years old journals and thought worth saving.
This is fiction. Mostly.
A bench on the boardwalk.
The day is really cold and steely gray. The sky looks like brushed stainless steel – and the only difference between the sky and the water was the direction of the brush strokes.
She’s sitting on a cold, hard, slightly damp bench retying a shoelace that her walk had caused to wriggle free from its knot. Her head is down – the unseasonably cold wind-induced dance of her short brown curls incongruent with the brooding gray that fills her vision.
It was about 6:00, September. Not quite dark, yet in NJ that time of day where, if you were to wake up from a nap, you wouldn’t know if it was early evening or early morning.
The bench is near a phone booth. You hardly ever see pay phones any more. She tries to remember the last time she used a payphone. 1987 maybe.
He is really tall. 6’2, maybe 6’4. Solid. And he has a prodigious afro – maybe 8 or 10 inches extended from his head. He’s wearing really faded jeans with a hole on the left knee – 4″ across, not bought that way but faded and threadbare because they formed the bottom half of his uniform — those and maybe another pair or two — regardless of temperature or what the day had in store.
He seems to be without significant relationships in his life – but that is only by outward appearance. He compartmentalizes. He takes something from everyone he observes, making all of his relationships significant in some way. And he knows it. He is capable of stepping back and seeing things with a wider perspective.
He does odd jobs when he finds them – like fixing a shutter or patching a stair.
Is he walking around helping people? Or does he do it for pay? I think he just does it.
How does he make a living? Maybe he has some inheritance? Won the lottery?
Live simply. A t-shirt with that on it could be the other part of his uniform.
His grandfather died when he was young. Grandpa left him some money, but not a lot. How much money would you need to live on your own? Without cable? With a cell phone?
He’s carrying a duffle bag. He’s not dirty, but is he homeless?
No, he’s nomadic.
He stays with the people. He showers there.
He has an old camper. A Westfalia. I always wanted a Westfalia.
I think this is fiction. Though it sounds very much like someone I know, I don’t think I knew him when I wrote this. Or I knew him, but I hadn’t seen him in 30 years.
On the back of these pages I have written “tear, shred, burn, throw out.” Maybe I didn’t think this was worth saving.
I wonder why. That part feels non-fiction too. And the Westfalia. I have always wanted a Westfalia.