(For a better experience, read while listening to Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssdgFoHLwnk)
I asked my boss what he thought of him. “He’s got what he’s got but here’s not for him”. How do you mean? “We can’t hire him ‘cos he’s different. He is not like us”. They told him that we had no vacancy at the company. He smiled, bowed and left. Next day we hired someone “like us”. I saw him in the streets sometimes, and he would avoid my eyes and keep his head bowed. He became that way with other people.
I asked mother what she thought of him. “Do you want to make a laughing stock of us? Your father would be livid”, she said. “He is not like us. He is different” How do you mean mother? “Please tell me you asked that question as a joke. You aren’t a kid anymore”. And father was livid (still can’t forgive me) that I thought of him that way. “The other fellow down the block would be better for you”, both mother and father said.
I kissed him still and let him be my first.
I asked Him the other day how the city was that he had moved to. Were people friendly? Did he now have a good job? “I am magnificent now” he said. How do you mean? “Everyone was right all along, you know?” Him said. “I am different and not like them. I’ve cut the ropes at last and found me”, he said with a laugh. I was worried, for Him sounded unlike himself; as though drunk or “high” on something. He sniffed the whole time as we spoke on the phone.
Something wasn’t right. “Do you have a cold? Just hang on, I’ll be there by the weekend”. And Him said, “rest easy, I tell you, for I am magnificent. I have never been more powerful. In truth I say this to you. There’s so much energy in me now, I can do anything! I could burst forth and my splinters would still be full of energy and glow”! It was poetic in an odd way.
He coughed, sniffed some more, and his voice trailed off.
Now you know the story, Max. [Bark, bark]. I’ve brought you here often and I know you’d have wondered why. Him drew his last breath as we spoke on that day, the other day, seven years ago. They said it was due to complications from a drug overdose. He was laid to rest over there and I moved to this city for work two years later.
Isn’t it funny that I was a rope? Him cut the ropes and that included me. Come on Max, now we go home. [Bark, bark]. And don’t chase after those squirrels!
(A lit version of this narrative is available at: Once Upon a Month – Magnificent)