Friday, September 2, 2016

Not my brother - the people you meet

My brother just walked into the cafe. No, not really. My brother has been dead for over 20 years. It's just the kind of guy that reminds me of my brother. I see him all the time.

He looks unnaturally skinny but with a small paunch hanging over his belt. Unhealthy looking. It's a fairly warm day but he wears a long-sleeved button up shirt. Maybe it's unfair, but I assume he is wearing the shirt to cover the track marks on his arm rather than because he felt chilled when he got dressed. Maybe it's both. His black canvas bag looks designed to hold a laptop, which my brother never had. But I imagine, were he alive, my brother would have, like this guy, adopted headphones and smartphone as a way to block out the world.

People behind the counter know the guy, at least enough to greet him by name. He's quiet though, a word no one ever used to describe my brother. My brother's voice carried, whether it was appropriate to be loud or not. This guy seems like he's better able to regulate his voice. He can't stop his leg from bouncing, though, and his hand shakes as he raises the sandwich to his mouth. It's a Friday afternoon and he's not at work. Of course, neither am I, neither are most of the people here. But since this guy is my brother I imagine he doesn't have a regular job to go to.

The book I saw sticking out of his back jeans pocket turns out to be a thin black and white composition book, folded in half so it will fit. Yeah, my brother would do something like that, get a free left-over book from some organization and use it to death. I don't think my brother ever wrote. Maybe he did and his words were lost to the trash when he wasn't around to advocate for their preservation. I know he was a reader. This guy is reading the newspaper, left behind by another customer. Free. I bet he has a beaten up paperback in that black bag.

I'd probably enjoy a 15 minute conversation with this guy, get his take on Game of Thrones or Mr. Robot, then never see him again.

I like his face.

He reminds me of my brother.

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