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The rain misted down around me as I hurried into the Laundromat.  He was carefully settling his teal colored, decorated cart underneath the awning of the building.

As I began loading my clothes into the washing machine, I could smell a faint scent.  Uncomfortably, I thought, “Is that me?”

After a moment I realized it was the man with the cart; his slight odor floating over to me as he loaded his clothing in the machine next to mine.  After pushing all the proper buttons and listening with satisfaction to the sound of the coins dropping into the machine, I sat down and opened my book.  For a time, I escaped from the over bright Laundromat and found myself in the world of late 19th century New York.

“What are you reading?” he asked.

“It’s about Emma Goldman,” I replied, holding up the book for him to see. “She was an anarchist.”

“Ah, a person with no leader, except themselves.”

“Interesting,” I mused, “He seems educated.”

He had also been reading, so I queried about his choice of material.  He explained that he was nearly finished with the Haunted Mesa by Louis L’Amour.  He recounted the basic story and then qualified his interest.  He was not an avid fan of Westerns because so many had predictable plot lines.

As we chatted, I surveyed his appearance.  His clothing was clean and old, but well maintained.  His stocking cap matched his brown glasses frames and his beard, though long, was groomed.  His eyes were also brown, although the left was nearly closed tight.

He explained that his favorite writers were Hemingway and Steinbeck.  He especially liked Hemingway because he wrote of northern Michigan, an area familiar to him.  In explanation, he told me that he had been raised in Temperance, Ohio just seven miles from the Michigan border.

He then took off his glove and extended a hand.  My name is Kevin.  I shook his hand and replied that mine was Kyle.  We continued to chat as I folded my clothes and stacked them in teetering piles in my mesh laundry bag.

After a few more stories, he quietly revealed that he would be going and planned to snuggle down in his sleeping bag to stay warm.  He wished me a good evening and walked out into the rainy night.



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Reliving a Memory

Much of the time it feels like ancient history.

It used to come rushing back much more frequently.  I would be walking past the fraternity house on the corner of San Jacinto and Park.  The big house just beyond J. P.’s Java.  I would be headed toward the law school.

And I would freeze.

And then—I would be gone.  Reliving a memory.

I am lying on a bed.  I am on my stomach and he is pushing his penis into my anus.   I can feel my skin stretching and tearing slightly.  And I am wondering why he took off his condom. 

And suddenly, I would be standing on the street corner with the sun peaking out from behind the stray clouds.  And I would resume my walk to class.

Much of the time it feels like I’ve forgotten.

But then I will be standing in a crowded bar and someone will slide past me, barely grazing my back.  Or I will be standing on the edge of the dance floor and someone will try to dance with me, pushing their crotch against my ass.

And I will freeze.

And then—I will be gone.  Reliving a memory.

I am sitting on the toilet in the bathroom next to his room, trying to cry quietly so he won’t know.  And I am wiping the blood and semen off of me.  And I keep thinking over and over again, “You can’t call the police, you don’t even know the name of the apartment complex.  You are such an idiot.”  

And suddenly, the sound turns back up and I am standing in a crowed bar or on the edge of a dance floor.

But then November comes and I am wondering why I feel so off kilter.

And I freeze.

And then—I am gone.  Reliving a memory.

It is late on December 2nd, and I took the LSAT just hours before.  I am standing in a crowded bar on 6th Street with one of my friends and her roommate.  And we decide to go back to their place to continue the party.

And suddenly, I am sitting at the desk in my office and counting the years.  I reach five this time and I cry.  


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