By Young Lee
Old Jimmy approaches the street corner, paper grocery bags weighing in each hand, and pushes the yellow walk button with his elbow. He has on cotton yoga pants, cut off at mid-calf, partially revealing a pair of great bass swimming upshore. The old black ink faded to a watery grey against his own scaly skin. At his sleeves, his lanky, fleshy arms have long been inked with mystical birds and masks like weathered totem poles. Inspired by past winters, hunting moose, in the South East Alaskan terrain. Ancient hieroglyphics decorate his forearms to commemorate his late wife. And the markings of Buddha, the All-Seeing Eye, the Hindu Ganesha, along with Christ seated on Jimmy’s torso, front and back. Tombstones of his past.
Old Jimmy pushes up his prescription glasses with the tip of his thumb, wiggles the blood back into his fingers. He feels faint from Bikram Yoga and hunger as the amber sun presses down on him. Through the asphalt mirage across the street, Old Jimmy discerns a young man in a vintage Jim Morrison tee shirt approaching the opposite corner. He had that shirt once, a long time ago. Remembers going to their concert. As Jimmy observes him, there is something else familiar about this young man. The manner of his walk. The way he jerks his head to throw back his long wavy bangs. Sweat runs down Jimmy’s back and he rests the bags down beside him as he rubs his tired eyes and scratches an old scar on his right cheek. Despite the heat, his fingers are cold and moist. He readjusts his glasses and studies the young man’s face as he’s retrieving something from his pocket. He regards the boy’s compulsive blinking. The exact habit he had before he got cataracts in both eyes. That arched nose reminds him of his father. And the same thin lips that purse when he sniffles. Then suddenly he notices the payphone that he entered nearly forty years ago. (more…)