he says, quietly, and I am shot through with six truths, a snowflake immobilized.

One.     A yearbook photo, grainy, blurred, he is on a stage looking only at his guitar. So much younger but already as serious. No one was watching him that day; he stood in the back; the lead singer was blonde and had such a sweet face. Really I do not remember who magnetized my own attention that day. I have to wonder how many times I missed his further face.

Two.     Hands with many layers of new and old grime. Grease comes off easily enough with the right solution. Then there are the finer stubborner particles that grind themselves down into the whorls and creases of every finger. Under it all is flesh that has flexed and broken and turned to something stronger than it used to be. I don't just mean calluses I mean practiced easy strength plus a blind knowledge of how to hold any tool, firmly, smooth quick motions without error.

Three.     Nothing better than a man who loves this book, and this one, and oh this whole shelf full, and can tell you why and would like you to love them too and sends you home with an armload. Call me and tell me what you think. I want to know. Read them fast. Call me soon.

Four.     He is telling me about something that happened to him in high school and I break in with Why didn't you call me? and it is a dumb thing to say but really, all week it has been us us us,   Let's go to this movie.   Ok.   There's a new restaurant down the block.   Let's go.   His voice on the phone and I am already putting on my coat. Hasn't it always been like this?

Five.     He drinks too much milk. He does not like Bjork. It's laughable that these are my hurdles. No, it's cruel.   Here, he's 99.44% perfect. Don't touch.

Six.     Let me see if I understand this. You were obsessed with the Dukes of Hazaard, too? You used to covet the vacuumcleaner hovercraft in the back of Boys' Life, too? You trashed your dad's sportscar? You used to blow stuff up and watch Smoky and the Bandit over and over and over and read everything by Gary Paulsen you could get your hands on and as we reveal these things to each other I can see your delight forgetting to hide itself and, worse, I am open, grinning, reflecting your delight in all this and we are leaning in and we just can't, I have to go, good night, I will be glad, but not really, for the cold air inside my car.

All of this strung together inside me on a delicate electric web.   All of me conducting.   I had not realized I was so finely wired.   I had not realized.

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