Sit by the fire in the hearth.
I will put my chin on your knee, stare into the ether and let my thoughts run.
Perched upon your feet, keeping your toes warm.
Closer to the earth.
The storm passes, the rain relents, and the sky above the Sound nearly recovers.
The air outside remains cold.
Locals say this place is cursed.
I’ve seen enough tragedies in others in my four months here, to believe it.
Heard of even more.
Yet, here shall I establish my residence.
A mid-thirty year old,
amongst the retirees still seeing themselves as inhabitants of Stellar Street.
Mick and Keith working the corner shop.
The wealthy snow birds hum, at the restaurant where I work, about migrating to the South for the winter.
“Guess how old I am”: he says.
His wife giggles.
Howl I loathe this game.
But, this pair is old enough to not take anything personally.
78: I guess.
The correct answer is 97.
He proceeds to tell me experiences from both the first and second world wars.
I am captivated.
They do not take their leftovers to go. They turn down the offer of free bread.
The less well-to-do appear even more non-corporeal.
No winter homes to which they may abscond.
Disembodied spirits of bodies that no longer exist.
To serve and host at this restaurant requires second sight.
Many of these people long ago became invisible to most.
Are you Irish?: he asks.
No, I’m from the South.
Oh, I was stationed there with the good old boys. They went to bars during their off-time. I went to museums and landmarks. But, I was odd.: he tells me.
He shares stories of being an 18 year old from Montana who ended up in the South during George Wallace days.
I am captivated.
He and his wife take their leftovers home in a box and ask for extra free bread
which they are given.