6.2011 | These nights are haunting me


I have been among others.

Notably, men. Cowboy-hatted, pointy-booted men who stare and holler. Mud-caked, Carhartted men, dark with wilderness and hungry-looking.

My skin too light, my hair too bright.

I was taking a picture of a weather-worn shack. Made the mistake of stopping: A woman not in motion is public property. A man approached, stood too close, enclosed me in an aura of alcohol. That made me look up. He was young, from around there. The veins on his nose were already spidered. I waited for him to say what he was going to say and took three steps back.

"Taking pictures?"

He swayed.

I answered surely. "Yes."

He looked at the shack, like people do when they wonder why insignificance was elevated to subject. His eyes were black and sorrowful. Dulled with drink, but well deep. His hair had been cut recently, and its neat boundary featured a delicate ear and the kid length of his neck.

He said, "My mother says that when she was young none of the buildings were painted. All of them looked like this building." He turned and swept his arm across all the buildings in the town. All had been painted to look like Easter eggs.


He took a step forward, I took a step back. I know this dance. I started to walk away. He followed.

"I'm not trying to hit on you. Please wait," he called.

I was already at the car, door open.

"Can I touch your hair?"


Where are the women?

Well, there was one.

She gave me advice. She said, "Honey, you want the bronze, not the gold. People think the gold is better, but the bronze is just as good and it costs a lot less."