Wednesday, July 01, 2009

When I knew him he was surefooted and lean, confident that the ground would always be there to meet the bottoms of his feet. He remembered people, considered them, stored up their details in the lines of his skin to be pulled out and repeated back, unexpectedly. Just so you knew he was listening.

I remember one night, not too long before the end but prior to when everything got all broken and bad and medical, sitting on an empty lifeguard stand, drinking something warm and sweet, shoulders heavy with youth. I think he knew what was coming, and regretted it, that one misstep years before that would cost him all the rest. I knew only that the world hung too heavy on all of us, that we were being handed visions and secrets that we were unprepared for and would never really recover from. We sat there silent and watched the sun melt on to the horizon, kicking up a breeze and washing the water gold, looking suddenly hazy and tired and more like a winter sun than a summer one.

I left his ashes on the Arno last year, but sometimes even now through a break in a crowd I'll catch a glimpse of a tall strong back, a flash of a confident smile, and remember.

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