He had lost an eye. Though, its orb still in its socket had turned a blurry blue, misty, had developed a different kind of sight. It was a pain experienced through years of looking, looking, searching. A pain no one could comprehend. Not even himself.

This pain had the temper of a two-year-old, set off by triggers and misperceptions from a wayward stare to a misconstrued comment. Violence shot out of him, red, hot, stinging. I noticed when in this rage, his long hair, parted in the middle, changed as if it were caught in a hurricane, but in slow motion. After an episode, strands of it would appear jagged, outliers of the smoothness of his mane. I thought the streets had done this to him. I was wrong and I was right.

He was never really made up of the streets. The streets were made up by him. An Old Town that used to be, a November rain, black kids selling stripped-down crack cocaine, a fifth of rut gut, sloppy punk shows no one would remember, dayglo artists nailing canvases onto walls of plywood painted black, goth girls looking at themselves in mirrors, only their hands moving, not their bodies. Everything was never moving.

As I looked at his dead eye, lost in a random fight, I felt his frustration, his fear, his hopelessness. And even though he irritated me to no ends, I saw how vulnerable he was.

We took long walks along the Deschutes where few were allowed to go. He was different there. We talked of steelheads and Chinooks. We visited Chuck and listened to metal so loud, the desert lost its hearing. We picked up arrowheads and threw them back to where we found them, to sage and grass. And along this desert river, that twisted like snakes through dry canyons, both sides of its banks scarred, we hung on to ourselves (though there were reasons to lose our minds) right down to where it met the Columbia.



(Click on image to enlarge)

25 Comments on “Gerald

  1. Pingback: Gerald – AreMyFeetOffTheGround

  2. I love your descriptive writing. I could use all my senses to feel every words you wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you. 1/500. If you go much slower the bird’s overall motion makes the shot difficult. If you go faster the wings begin to look stopped.


  4. Thanks so much my friend. I am curious. What was your shutter speed on that hummingbird photo? If you can let me know, that would be awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I did, thanks. So grateful to have WP buds and interesting reading, makes staying at home a bit easier. I’m always amazed by your takes on life, and your photos. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a precise and moving description of Gerald! Prolonged pain (physical or mental) can twist us into something unrecognizable. Loved this: “He was never really made up of the streets. The streets were made up by him.” And the change you see in him when you really look, take the time to walk and talk with him. That’s where the magic happens. Here is a post of mine you might enjoy:

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Enjoyed this. Read it twice, even. You have an exciting way of describing things.

    Liked by 2 people

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