The Thief

Photo: Linda Laino

This haibun first appeared in Life in 10 Minutes Blog, and was subsequently published in Nine Lives: A Life in 10 Minutes Anthology.

He was the bad boy of my youth. Every woman had one didn’t she? The boy who exuded a certain sex appeal, who we felt certain was going to give us an adventure like we had never known. The one who would surely transfer that mysterious something onto our own lackluster personalities. Who by mere association we say to the world, “I am dangerous, I am dark, I am unpredictable.” We all seem to want to discover this shadow in ourselves when we are young.

I fell in love with his hippie straight, white blonde hair-long, parted in the middle, his fair features, his body thin and taut.

He stole radios out of cars. That was his forte-with a little drug-dealing on the side. Small time stuff. He and his two henchmen friends were like a suite of lost boys, following their own moral code. They were courteous, friendly, their personalities incongruous with their deeds. When I was 19, they always seemed to be in my apartment, hanging out, eating food, getting high. Tim always came with gifts that I eventually realized were all stolen.

I made a drawing for him once. A love gift. I remember it being reminiscent of Peter Max in all its groovy, glorious, psychedelic colors. I even still remember the girlish inscription: For Tim, Whose Head is Always in the Clouds-no doubt a reference to his frequent pot-infused haze.

We were never “together” in any real sense of the word, but sometimes he would come to my room late at night and lay with me. Being drawn to his darkness, perhaps allowed me to acknowledge my own. He had deep secrets, that one. I think he felt I understood him in a way that comforted him, although I can’t say that I did.

We drifted apart of course, and I eventually left town. A couple of years later, in another state, I received a telegram from prison. I wish I still had it. How did he find me? What did it say exactly? He said he still had the drawing and something about how I was the only one…..the only one.

From under me he

steals the oily night and leaves

behind the white dawn

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© 2020 by Linda Laino Words + Pictures.