“How’d I get here? It seems so calm, so quiet. Where’d everyone go?”
You should be careful on the roads today.
“I’m careful. I don’t drive so it’s hard not to be careful. But where is this place? It seems familiar.”
It’s cloudy and raining
“I can see that. I don’t really mind the rain though, especially when the clouds are pink as they are. It’s nice if it isn’t too cold.”
It’s about 14 degrees…
“Really? That warm? Huh, not bad for….”
Here at the studio and it looks like the rain is going to continue most of the day and into the weekend so don’t forget your umbrella. We should see some clearing by Monday though so everyone cross your fingers. Last night in hockey…
The radio guy with the beautiful voice. He’s old men, soldiers, little boys—wise and worldly and familar and youthful. He has chatted with me in my dreams so many times before, about the weather mostly, but also sometimes about art openings or cultural events as well and if I listen long enough, even the news. Generally we’re on a park bench, and eventually I wake in my bed and he returns home to the little black box flashing 6:00 am. Warm, chocolatey morning voice. I love our few early minutes together, his coaxing me awake, drizzling his icing reports into my ear. The words you hear before the sun rises. The sounds of waking up. Pillow talk.
He was right, it is raining and heavily at that. Fridays always seem to be rainy, grey days and if I try I can’t seem to remember seeing the sun on a one for many years now. The gleaming pebbles of the pavement reflect the muted morning light into my modestly sized, ground level studio suite. The ground level is good. It’s a good suite. Some say it’s dangerous to be where people can just waltz right in through your window but I live for danger. I am James Bond, Bonnie and Clyde all crammed together in a car arguing over directions to the nearest action adventure. I’m an outlaw. I make coffee to wake up in the morning and take herbal tablets to sleep at night. I am wild and out-of-control.
Greg is the name of the guy that lived in my alley for about five or six months. I would estimate that he’s about five or six years older than me, maybe 28 but looks a hell of a lot older because he’s been on the street, eroded by the weather and judgment. I brought him soup once and left it where he normally sleeps but I have no real way of knowing if he got it. I was expecting some sort of divine, ethereal reward for that little deed. None came. The expectation was my first problem. I’m starting to think that I am just as selfish as everyone else, wondering exactly when the divine payoff will come. The novel I started writing about Greg was going pretty well until I realized I knew absolutely nothing about him. He later moved, or at least didn’t come back to the area. Died? Who knows? The police don’t keep tab because it’s more or less a problem that corrects itself and the papers don’t report that sort of thing. There aren’t homeless people in the prim streets of Vancouver. I keep thinking that I’ll see him again out there, in the cubby doorway at the back of the Korean restaurant with all the cockroaches, sleeping or at least trying to in the torrential downpour. You have to wonder if it’s wrong or sadistic even, to wish to see someone again in those conditions, just to restore a sense of normalcy. Maybe he has a job somewhere, on the North shore, maybe in Richmond. Doubtful, it’s very doubtful. It’s still weird not having him out there guarding the alley but I say bye to Greg, and to a really good story that will never get finished.