I’d lived many lives. Imaginary ones from movies and books, yes, but also in real life, from the heights of Beverley Hills to the slums of New Orleans. From villages in Vietnam to villages in the Sahara desert. I didn’t know what I wanted.
When I met her late one night in the café, I told her I was a chameleon. I told her whenever I went to a foreign country my skin became the colour of the natives. My skin changed colour. When I was in the desert, my skin became a golden orange. When I was in the ocean my skin turned a hybrid of blues and greens. I told her lots of things. I may have lied.
I was lost in the French foreign legion when a letter from her arrived. A year later, I missed her by four days in El Paso. In Rio, she passed by six days before me. I still had her letter. I was a family man, somewhere, I couldn’t remember. I lost many fights, in penny arcades, bowling alleys and dime stores. I saw her once, watching, from the corner of her eye, on a cold February morning, in Pittsburgh.