Sweat and dirtpublished: 2009-12-23
I ran into an acquaintance. He was in his usual position: at a bar, drinking with two people whose suntans were too deep, we didn’t bother about introductions. It wasn’t important. In fact, nothing seemed important anymore, not like it did then when we were all still deciding what to do with our lives. Not even the smell of rum on his breath. We all grow older, we all grow bellies. The tans start looking flakey. His blonde hair now shows bald patches. I asked how he was doing. Life was great. Same deal: managing a beach bar and all. Fine fine. In return, he cordially informed after my novel (“same deal, writing away and all. Fine fine”) and when he asked what it was about, I told him. Generally speaking, people never really listen to the answer. So I said, “before you know it, you’re sixty. Basically that’s what it’s about.” His eyes suddenly jumped around nervously.
Today, I left the car lights on so the battery was dead when returning from the beach. And who could I turn to for help? Him. He was at his beach bar, as usual. He smiled, drove his pick-up to where we were at and helped us without even so much as batting an eyelid. Sweat, dirt and all.