The crowd is as thick as the smoke in the air. His steps are calculated, keeping his distance from the young bodies that dance around him. Hands float through the air, reaching for anything but he returns to the wall, to wait until he is brave enough. Another button is unfastened on his white dress shirt, a hope that he might for a moment feel young again. He sees it. They know. His hair is full, his body is fit, but he is not a part of this world. He had his time. But no more. He would give anything to have it again, to suck out the life and gain back the time he lost. When a young man, eyes blank and hair disheveled, stumbles into his arms, he doesn't say no to clumsy hands and the stench of tequila. He wouldn't dare
I never got a good photo of him. Over two months, I got only body parts dismembered from each other. Even though they were behind unstained glass, the listless traffic cops filtered all the life out of even a torso wrapped in a plaid shirt. The distance made distortion echo, (6.6 hours and 624 kilometers of it) and there was only so much I could take. Between two kidneys on the same side, a propensity to do stupid things, the two broken ribs, the dislocated shoulder, and the blackened eye that stopped seeing me at all— (I must remember to remind him: a child with blond hair and green eyes sits with her sandwich, the crusts cut off. I do not want her. I do not want her.) —these were simply hiccups. Mistakes, baby, that he didn’t mean. But I didn’t know how he would end it. I didn’t know he was driving drunk.