Last night I walked the dog. Ok, I held on to the dog as he pulled erratically this way and that – this is what I really did. I took my usual route down the alley and left on Center. At that corner is a sliver of a house with a garden and a front porch the size of a throw rug.
For the past year or more a guy has held court on the porch. Whenever it’s warm enough, he’s there sitting in a hardware store chair, smoking a cigarette. There’s often a glass of wine on a little table, and if it’s after dark a candle or two is lit. Friends join him – like the woman sitting with him last night. You can hear that they’re solving the world’s problems.
I have a story about this guy. He’s in the Writer’s Workshop. In his mid-30s, without a partner or kids, renting this tiny house and sitting outside smoking and drinking wine, engaged in conversation – I mean, really, what else could he be?
Sometimes we waive. Just a little acknowledgement. And I know he has a story about me. I can feel it. It’s just nice knowing he’s there, making some kind of crazy cobbled sense of life through Bohemian tactics.
But this morning – down the alley – hold tight to the leash – take a left. Gone. No more chair. No little table. The wine glasses and the candle wax drippings a memory. An old chest sits on the curb calling out “Free. Take me!” Only an ashtray remains, crammed full with the butts of the floating conversations that bloomed in the dark.
Next time – I will ask his name. Next time – I’ll find a way to stop and have a glass of wine. Next time – I’ll hold this figure in my life dear.