A sliver of the past--fiction.
One grainy slightly off-center photo in a small cloisonné frame stands out among the clutter of frames and photos on my bureau. Looking out from his frame, a conspicuously confident man still challenges me with defiant laughter while the details of his features begin to blur as the photo fades slightly with age.
His broad smile transforms an otherwise ordinary looking face. I remember so well the sound of his laughter, his furtive glances. When we met, he made an Olympic sport of love's challenges, winning my heart with his distracting air and powerful presence.
An architect, he designed unconventional shelters; his weather-worn fingers penciled bold futuristic renderings. Together, we flew from one commission to another with long stretches of time spent on the road. At home, we'd walk in the Maine woods daily without talking, listening with all ears to the forest chattering and singing all around us.
He scribbled poetry endlessly and everywhere. His pencils bitten to the quick were his trademark. When he spoke, his basso voice rang true and bold; His stance, rebellious. He never seemed to be completely connected with what he was doing. And yet, his structures were often labeled "heroic and remarkably as one" with their surroundings.
A maverick to the core, his every word a song. He stirred up a tempest, a wintry blizzard, with his daily rantings. Beneath it all, a heart calcified like a polished black stone. Hands never warm, his soulless breath spirited by howling winds, his whispered expletives railed against the threat of intimacy.
Ultimately, he was meant to live alone. He couldn't resist the call of the city's spare wilderness; the busy downtown dressed in Confederate gray with its dizzying heat and sidewalks filled with averted eyes. He found a fifth-story walkup situated just far enough above the mundane; quiet, restorative, an eagle's nest--most of all, comfortably alone.