The 11th of July 2009 – Kirkland, Washington

(found crumpled into a ball at the base of a garbage can in a bathroom of a public library)

Dear Alexander,

I saw a man today, an incredible man, and I would like to describe him to you.

He walked up to me with his arms stretched out. They were held away from his sides, not to welcome an embrace, but to show that he didn’t consider me a threat. He smiled, just slightly, just barely showing his teeth to me. And he looked at me, right in my eyes, and he kept smiling. His head tilted back and to the side, and he just kept smiling. I could smell the testosterone oozing out of his skin. I could hear his muscles ripple and flex. I could see tears in his eyes and I knew why they were there. He knows the pain.

But the way he smiled. I’d never seen someone smile with such knowledge and wisdom, an impossible amount, an impossible amount. There’s no way he could smile that way and truly mean it. Could he? There’s no way he could be that sure of the world or himself or anything, anything at all, and smile in such a way. But he kept smiling.

And I was afraid, not for any reason, except he seemed to be so empty of fear.

He walked towards me, every single one of his muscles bulging through his shirt. The man’s face gleamed with arrogance, his hair fluttered into his eyes, carelessly swept over to one side of his scalp. He kept smiling and smiling as we came closer and closer together.

Then, almost nose to nose, through his smile he told me in a whisper: “I am human.”

He blew me a kiss as I turned away. I stood and stared at the wall opposite me and let his murmur trace itself down my spine with a shiver.

Then he called out, and it was so loud that his voice bounced off the walls and shook the ground I was standing on. It was so loud that I couldn’t even hear him. I could only feel it.

I looked back, but he had disappeared. His last words echoed unintelligibly in my ears.

I had to sit down in the first place I could find. I had to try to tell you about him.

Because something bothers me about this man. I wonder if, when I leave the bathroom, he stays trapped in the mirror or if he comes with me.

I hope things are well with you,

James

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