Thursday, July 8, 2010

an old friend

I'd enrolled blindly.

All I knew was that the name of the teacher was the same as the man I'd spent so many hours with back before this jungle of complication had sprung up all over my life. It was in a different country. We'd walk around and he'd have me take photos of him while he made phallic gestures with the great monuments of the city we were in.

He'd have my follow him as he followed dark-skinned women with the skinny asses of boys.

He drank whiskey. Introduced me to it like holy water.

Anyway, the class with his name attached to it was a low level one. It was was supposed to teach us to put words together better. I didn't have much passion for the subject. Mostly, I was curious how and who he'd become after a whole decade had rotted behind us both.

First day, I sat in the middle of the small strand of desks that made up the cramped room. Eager, nervous as hell.

He was thinner. Back then, his the hair on his head was neat and a little fuzzy, like a young bird. His face was bald of hair altogether.

Now he'd gone gray and stringy. A lasso of sparse white beard from ear to ear. The weight of a nursery full of babies had dropped from his frame.

But I was sure it was the same guy.

He called role. Looked at me after my name. I stared straight back, said things to flood stories out of him, construct some sort of context.

"I don't know you," he said. His eyes were the color of concrete and maybe harder. "I've forgotten so much."

Later I lost the book he'd assigned, went searching in wet grass. Gave up.

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