What follows is a narrative fragment found in the bottom of suitcase once used by a circus performer who later in life became a cinematographer.
His name was Christian and he learned a lot that first summer away from
home on his own. He had taken that name at some point during his
travels because he had never felt his given name fit his tall and akward
frame. It was a plain name and during his early elemenatary school
years the kids had made up all sorts of rhymes and jokes about it.
Christian didn’t even feel comfortable living inside his own
skin and bones. He loved to walk and those same kids even made fun of the way
he bounced a bit with each and every forward step—when much older he would walk every night along the beach until the buzzing inside his head would ease off a bit and he could return home and exhausted—sleep through the night.
He didn’t reralize he was a pilgrim until much later in life when all the other titles seemed too vague or somehow wouldn’t fit no matter how much he tried to make them conform to his bodies profile.
Christian had become a hippy with long hair and bell-bottomed blue jeans he had sewn and patched together himself. It had been a month or two since he had worn shoes and he could now snuff out a cigarette butt on the sidewalk and not feel it since the soles of his feet had developed thick callouses.
Did I mention that the summer Christian decided to leave his hometown and find himself happened to be what was to become known as the summer of love. Well it was. It was also the summer he learned a lot of lesssons—one of them being how great if felt to share something.
The summer of love was loaded with many outdoor concerts where lots of hippys would gather and do what groups of people do, hippy or not, when they gather—talk about life, play and make plans. Christian was shy but one day visited a candy store before heading off to the park and an outdoor concert and picnic. He puchased a couple of dollars of penny candy and when he arrived at the park overcame his shyness by asking people if they wanted some candy. It was really a kinder and gentler time—long before razor blades in halloween sacks—and of course he made a lot of friends that day. Since there is a kid inside of every hippy the candy was gone before long but not before he had received lots of invitations to crash at people’s houses and other offers as well.
During the day Christian would sometimes sell alternative (underground) newspapers and even scored a baby sitting job for two kids whose mother was going through a hard time.
People around Christian were listening to the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead and reading the hobbit books by Tolkien. On off days he would hang out in parks and draw pictures of things that were floating around in his head—mostly abstract or surreal type stuff that was fun to draw and look at but at the time didn’t make much sense. That is until a psychology professor took an interest in them and asked if he could take few of them to his class at the local university. When he returned them he looked really interested and talked about them using big words which Christian took as a sign that they were ok.
Later in life—after Christian had lived a little longer with his given name again—he would look at those drawings and be frightened by their peek into the depths of his psyche—and in that moment of exposure throw them into a dumpster down the road from where he lived. Many years later he wished he hadn’t done that but what is done is done.