Monday, May 2, 2016

AWP 2016, part 4: Nowhere to hide

Fatigue or despair, who knows?

Who knows, really, what is happening in other people? I was at the Book Fair, staffing the booth of Inlandia, a journal and arts collective of the Inland Empire of California. Yes, seriously. I chatted with people who were there to sign their books, I took money and gave change, and all the while I watched this young man drifting around the booth across the aisle. He picked up an item or two and glanced through, put them back. Suddenly he crouched, then sat on the ground. He huddled into himself and, apparently, fell asleep. Intrusively and carefully I watched him. No signs of sobbing or sighing. Also no inclination to seem the marginally more comfortable chairs or benches scattered around the Convention Center. He was still there when I left 30 minutes later. We will never know.

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