It was the kind of handshake that the manicured men don’t give, nor would they know how in these impoverished years. It was a rare mixture of sincerity, of appreciation, of humility, and of the kinship known instantly when a man finds one of his own kind.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, William” I told him as we shook hands before he turned to leave. He walked methodically, tilted slightly to one side, just as he’d arrived.


“It’s nearly 2 years since my wife died” he’d shared earlier, his voice trailing off into the place we all know exists, but of which few dare speak, the details, the dull-ache hollow of the soul left behind, known– without being told.

His right cheek bore a deep scar, a cratered hole, and he couldn’t see properly out of his left eye.

“Detached retina.”

He pointed a gnarled finger at himself.

“I gave ‘em three grand that I didn’t have to fix it, and I still can’t see worth a shit. Fuck, I haven’t paid the mortgage since my wife died. I got no business paying another three to try again.”

“I’m eighty-two years old. You know what I mean?”

This one’s for you, William.

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