Sunday, April 17, 2011

Like a Train

Last time I saw him alive he was wired, he was flying. Last time I saw him alive we were sitting across from each other back at The Cattleman's. He had just come through a real rough time with some girl I'd never met. The kind of rough time that guts you from the inside out, rips all your directions right off the map. At least that's how he described it. He was reeling.

He sat in the red naugahyde booth, pouring salt out all over his bacon and eggs, stirring sugar into his tea. Staring out wounded and amazed. This girl had hit directly home. She hit home in a way he hadn't wanted and couldn't have expected. He never saw it coming, and swore he would have run ten miles in the opposite direction if he had. This girl ran over him like a train.

He was looking worse for wear, no question. Long hair dirty and hanging loose, nails cracked and hands shaking, thin as a whippet. I saw the waitress sizing him up as she approached the table, the laminated menus held tight across her chest. He was sweating in the air-conditioned cool of the place, he was thumping the table with one knotty fist, and she didn't want any trouble. Last time I saw him alive.