the claw

12/16/16

On the train. The planes and angles of his face. The lay of his hair. The shape of the rims of his glasses. His profile.

An instant reliving. I am in an apartment. In the living room. A group of us from the corporate music store I work at. We are gathered for our monthly movie night. It is night. Our host sits in a chair. His sister draped over him in his lap. We are confused.

A break. One by one those gathered slip off to the kitchen for drinks and food. I remain seated with a friend, Rex, and a man known as The Claw. With the planes and angles of his face. His glasses. His hair smashed by stocking cap. He is a giant of gangle limbs sunken into couch cushions. His head leaned back in inebriation.

He speaks in rambles and incoherence. Sometimes the volume of his voice falls so low we have to lean forward and strain to hear his words, then sudden bursts of excitement, speed and volume. A chaos of inflection and cadence. Rhythm and meter.

When he casually mentions that he’d like to kill us, we join the others in the kitchen.

After seeing this stranger on the train. And this memory resurfaced. I dream. I dream of him. I dream that he chances upon me in a bookstore. He as he may be now. He and his wife. The bright lights of this corporate bookstore. Standing between wooden shelves. He approaches from behind, says – boo. And I jump. He is older. But still those same angles and glasses. The lay of his hair. Yes that was me on the train, he says. He and his wife smile friendly.

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