gives me his address and tells me to stop by.
says he wants to read to me.
yes, read to me.
so i do.
and he does.
among other things.
but then he starts in on the questions.
he wants to know about my friends, who they are, what they’re like.
“you don’t know them,” I laugh. “they’re supportive.”
his intensity makes me falter.
but i like this about him.
i like the challenge of being in his presence.
“supportive how?” he asks again.
“well, for example, right now they’re waiting outside in the car. in case you try to hurt me.”
“do they have sniper rifles?” he asks, not missing a beat. “because i have friends outside too, with sniper rifles aimed at your friends.”
the photojournalist doesn’t even smile when he says this, though i can’t help but to myself.
later, after i know more about his life, i find it interesting that this was the joke he chose.
there are actual events from his past in which sniper rifles are not funny at all.
but sometimes that’s the way we deal.
“how old were you when your father died?” he wants to know.
“that must have been hard.”
i try to remember. with my heart.
there’s not a feeling memory left from that anymore.
“i don’t know,” i answer.
“that’s trauma, right there,” he says, pointing briefly at me before reaching for his loosely measured inch of bourbon.
never taking his eyes from me.
the photojournalist is more of a significant person than my life anticipated.
impactful in the way that a natural disaster is impactful.