Why Henry Drager is written on my ticket stub, I don’t remember. It must have mattered at the time. An evening art show, dimmed cellos on the mezzanine. His hand reaching, my hand offering. A pencil and this smooth ticket stub. The beginning to this story, lost.
But I remember the upstairs world. Close, but not too close. Standing, appropriately. Viewing the backside of folk art framed to reveal knots and loose threads. One long curl of orange peel becoming the slash in a ruined sky.
And how it is you don’t see it coming, but you know it’s there. No action is lost to the universe.
He was the sort of man to murmur. And I was the sort to laugh: campfires and pine cones. But his voice hinted of cashmere and late dinners. He cupped my life in his–I let him.
And when he read, I listened. He liked the way I didn’t talk. At least for a time, before the language of maps began. Ocean floors and glacial corridors. I traced routes against my palm, breath upon his windowpane. He was stillness; I was roam.
And when I left, I did so poorly. Flip through my head and turn to any page. After this story stops, you’ll learn what I didn’t tell him: I run when I am lost.