we are all in the gutter

He wasn’t like the rest of them.

When the others were watching the band, and each other, he was looking at the stars. Looking for what? I don’t know, but he radiated a warm-hearted awareness of something bigger. Something bigger than everything, and everyone.

It made me want to touch him, it made me want to remove his clothes, his skin and climb inside. Climb inside and drink his truth, his realness.

I’m not sure when I first saw Hank James. I think it was the same day I really looked at the trees in the park. You know, when you find yourself feeling completely connected, completely free, completely sad. It was one of those rare days. I guess looking back on it, it kind of makes sense that he found me on a day like that.

I was sitting where the grass ended and turned to water, looking at the ducks, wondering why they always traveled in pairs, and if they were in fact smarter than what my grandfather thought they were when he shot at them.

He just sat down beside me, and touched my leg with his filthiness. He looked deep in to my eyes, and I looked in to his. And they were real. Real as the trees, real as his scars, and warm. Warm and hard, like old swords.

I don’t know what made me do it, I felt like his eyes were telling me that none of it was real, that nothing mattered anymore. I stood up, not leaving his eyes, and stepped in to the pond.

When I looked up at him, he was smiling, smiling like he’d achieved what he had come to do.

‘I don’t understand’ I said.

‘Look down’

I was standing on water.

It frightened me. I lost balance and fell.

‘You did that’ he said.

‘Both’

I climbed out of the pond and sat down beside him. He wrapped me in his tattered-leather, laughing. I narrowed my eyes and frowned at him.

‘I’m wet’ I said.

He kept his eyes on the ducks, and said nothing. I studied the lines of his face and tried to join the dots. There were so many, dots and spots, and scars, and lines. Yet I wasn’t afraid, he was so real, more real than anyone I had ever looked at, and so, so, so familiar.

‘I’m falling’ I said. ‘I’m falling off the edge’

He put his arms around me.

We’re all in the gutter, Lula Mae, but some of us are looking at the stars’

He stood up, and smiled. And wiped the water off my cheek. I could smell his history.

My honest god.

we are all in the gutter

s sansom

Paris, France

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