Deleted member 28239
Once you told me a story about an apparition. You made camp down in a canyon, next to the river. As the sun set you watched a distant railroad bridge and thought you saw the silhouette of a man walking across it. The silhouette tripped and burst into a cloud of blackbirds. No stranger to hallucinations, you blamed your nightly chemical cocktail and fell asleep.
You found his body the next morning. An old, road-worn man. You didn't have a phone to call the police. He was probably like you, anyways. No one asking. No one caring. You left him to rest.
We met in an Arizona parking lot and I admired how you effortlessly ran across slickrock with a beer in one hand and a rollie in the other. Your journey started on a kayak down the Ohio River after waking up to intestines spilling out of your horse and shooting a mercy bullet. You recited the miles with a grin and West Virginia drawl. I wish I could remember the number. You hopped trains, started fights, got shot at, got fed, watched people die, started a family, indulged in addictions and battled them. You saw the worst and the best and kept rolling.
You weren't religious because when you ate something it became a part of you, and that was good enough. You claimed to never worry because if you were alive, it was a good day. And if you were dead, you wouldn't care. Wisdom nuggets fell between stories of eating cats, setting tunnels on fire, and Rube-Goodberg machines relocating piss out of tweaker camps. And one thing you didn't know was when to shut up.
One night you got drunk and said something mean. You got drunker and fell on your knees, buried your face in my stomach and slurred apologies. I silently planned my exit. Last we talked you had finally seen a doctor about your back pain, something with your liver. I pictured your grinning face tinged with yellow. You said you were running out of prepaid minutes and never called again. Both your numbers recited disconnected messages.
You made me a dream catcher out of cat ribs and dental floss. It swayed dutifully from my rearview mirror for a year, held strong by the bread tie you hung it with.
It fell. The other day. Plunked down at a redlight and I felt a presence pass through my car. The floss and bread tie were intact when I checked them. My stomach sank.
did you turn into blackbirds?