The Stranger's journey has now come full circle.
Join me in the bright sunshine at When Words Go Free...

There are still stories to be told.
Read them at The Stranger Looks Back.

Strange Days

They met at the strangest of times,
When both were between here and there,
When each were just starting to climb,
Each one on their way to some where.

They met in that strangest of places,
Where their eyes did first catch a glance,
Where the masks that they wore as their faces
Made it safe to join up for a dance.

They danced to the strangest of tunes.
They danced through an afternoon fair.
They danced to the light of the moon.
They danced 'til it gave one a scare.

The season did turn to the next one,
The song then did come to its end,
The game at last all out of  fun,
The stranger no longer a friend.

As they pass now there's hardly a word,
With barely a glance to remind
Of the memories already blurred;
They're looking for new things to find.

They met at the strangest of times.
They met in that strangest of places.
When they danced they were each in their prime.
When they danced there were smiles on their faces.

Original Sin

"I don't consider myself a black person." As soon as she said it, I knew she was black. I didn't care. She was a girl, and she wanted to meet me. She could have been green with pink polka-dots. She was a girl, and she wanted to meet me. Besides, she was a full year and a bit older than me. And she was a girl, and she wanted to meet me.

I met her at the end of her street, across from the dep. I went up to her and asked, "Looking for someone?" She said, "No one but you." Or it might have been the other way around. Or that might just have been something we told people when they asked us how we met. I think we walked around a bit. I might have bought some soft drinks. If there was a parting kiss, it was not one I remember.

I remember our second date more clearly. We drove to the lookout, and everyone knows what that's for. I had very little experience French-kissing; I had never done it with anyone who knew how, and I sure as hell didn't. I must have learned quickly, because about 10 minutes in, she stopped suddenly, stared at me, and said the words that a 17-year-old boy least wants to hear from the girl whose tongue has been dancing with his: "I love you." I must have blacked out then, because the next thing I remember is we were snogging again, apparently having forgotten about something, but I wasn't quite sure what. All in all, it was a good second date.

As I was getting ready for our third date, I had two songs in my head, Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad and Tonight's The Night. I have always been a fan of Marvin, and never much cared for Roderick, so naturally I went with the song that made me think I was going to get laid. She was a girl, and she wanted to meet me, again. This virgin child was ready for the secret to unfold.

We drove around looking for a place to park. I was to become a man in a 1972 yellow two-door Gran Torino with brown vinyl upsholstery. We settled on a quiet street with houses on one side and a field on the other. Just as we were going over what I had already learned, the porch lights went on at the house directly across from us, the front door opened, and a silhouetted figure emerged to peer intently in our direction. I was not to become a man on that street. Or any other, it seemed; we couldn't find one that was suitable.

We abandoned the Torino at the north end of the park that borders Chester Ave. We took the blanket, found a nice spot near the swings, and continued where we had left off. I must have remembered what I had learned, because about 10 minutes in, she stopped suddenly, stared at me, and said the words that a 17-year-old boy most wants to hear from the girl whose tongue has been dancing with his: "You wanna fuck?"

I was a bit unclear on the question, so I asked her to clarify: "Do you?"  I don't remember the exact words that followed, but we clarified the question. Twice. I must have learned quickly, because afterwards she asked me when my first time had been, and didn't believe me when I told her. All in all, it was a good third date.

The Girl With April In Her Eyes

The bleakness of the winter had passed, its last raging storm now a memory, the snow replaced by the sprouting blades of grass. Recently barren branches flourished with green buds. A newly planted tree blossomed in two directions, chirping birds flitting back and forth between the branches of the double trunk that was yearning to touch the sun.

The gardener was pleased. The winter had been a bleak one, the sun making only feeble efforts to break through the grey. Little snow had fallen, as though the constant clouds couldn't be bothered to wake up very often.  The more the gardener had wondered if the winter would ever end, the less he had cared.

The last storm had been a violent one, a welcome contrast to the unending bleakness. In its way, the struggle to survive it had given the gardener something to care about. A winter's store of unspent energy had unleashed itself without warning; faced with its fury, his complacency quickly drowned in a flood of adrenaline. At the point when he genuinely feared for his safety, the howling winds and blinding snow stopped as suddenly as they had begun.

Now, the gardener was enjoying the soft breeze, the melodic twittering of the hungry chicks, the warming rays of the vernal sun. The intermittent light rain was the finishing touch on perfection. From time to time, a raucous crow would happen along, and the chicks would scatter in confusion, returning to their perches after the scavenger departed. The occasional thunderstorm would give the garden a much-needing washing down.

Although at times it seemed as if it would, the spring did not last forever. The gardener did not mind very much when it was over, not nearly as much as he had once imagined he would. This particular spring had played out its role in the cycle of things, as he always knew it would, as it always does. While he would ever cherish the memory of it, it was time for another season, and he welcomed the dark clouds that had just appeared over the horizon.