As we walked passed, he looked up at us from the curb, half-smoked cigarette hanging from his lips, and asked for spare change.

“I don’t have any money,” I tell him.

And I don’t. All I grabbed on my way out the door was my camera. This time was for art-making, not for shopping.

“Will you take my picture?” he asks when he sees my camera.

“Sure,” I say, and I kneel down to snap a few photos of him. It’s dusk and the last light is about to bleed out of the day.

“It’s a little dark,” I say, “so you might come out blurry. Try to hold still.” He tries.

After I take the picture, I sit down beside him to show him. Then I ask him his name.

He thinks for a moment, then tells me: “Drifter.”

I walk past the same spot the next day, but Drifter isn’t there anymore. He’s moved on to somewhere else.

– – –

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Filed under Musings

4 responses to “Drifter

  1. mmm…i have a huge place in my heart for these guys…and that he has taken that name he is identifying with it…heavy…

    • Yeah. His pause was really interesting before he answered my question “What’s your name?” Like he had to think about it. Or perhaps he had to decide which name he wanted to give me. “Drifter” reminded me of avid hikers who often take trail names, like an alter-ego. I’m curious what this guy’s other “names” are in different contexts.

  2. Doesn’t it make you wonder why he wanted his picture taken? Like maybe he wants to be seen…by someone, even a stranger?

    Yes, this is pretty deep. Good write.

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