"We all shouted 'ammonia man' as he clawed at his eyes." "You think that's funny?," he asked. Then he stood right in front of me wearing a weather-beaten leather vest, and big black mc-boots; hair all slicked back and a deep olive complexion. He leaned in and asked me his name. I said it, and he hit me. Standing there in front of the candy store shivering from the cold, the shame I felt was nearly unbearable. I did nothing wrong yet I felt lost. I often felt lost back then. I put myself in the position to get hit, perhaps that's why I felt so wretched. The reverberations of that punch would shake right through the neighborhood, and I'd live with it for a while in the spotlight, and for years to come in my own dark corners. There were many times to come after that snowy day that I'd get hit in one way or another. Many more days and nights of shame. He asked me his name, I answered and got hit so hard it took my wind away and left me shaking. Paralyzed. Why then did I spend the next day with him, blurring the edges and acting the fool?
Her hand reaching out across a scarred, stained, beer-soaked table, wrapping itself in my fingers. That curl of the lip. It all turned into everything I desperately needed, and was gone before the processing could even begin... Black socks. How could that ever sum it up?
© 2006-2016 Lee Greenfeld