You Will Be No Friend of Mine
I sat on the sidewalk, two days later, waiting for a stranger to pass. I didn’t have anyone particular in mind, but was hoping for a woman that looked like a grandmother, who, upon seeing me with my head to my knees, my face to the ground, would rub my back and say something comforting like, “There, there,” or, “Your future will be bright.”
But no one stopped. So I thought the problem was with the pose and I should try something new. I laid myself flat on my back, arms behind head, eyes to the sky, thinking, I hope that heaven isn’t up, expanding in infinite distance from everyone else. I hope that heaven is somewhere deep, held in by earth on all sides; person stacked upon person, arms around waists; warm and dark and brown.
A bus stopped and let people off. I watched their shadows stepping around me, over me, through me; on their way, on their phones, calling people far away. An old man paused. He peered down at me. I gave him a hopeful smile as encouragement, a “we could be friends,” sort of look. He scowled at me, a “you will be no friend of mine” kind of scowl tucked behind a, “I think you’re crazy,” sort of glare, and stepped away.
I turned on my stomach and lay with my face to the pavement, letting its heat scratch into my skin, rubbing my cheek into its roughness. And spread my arms wide to catch all the people passing by.
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Portland Fiction Project
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