The Human Parts Open Thread: Letter to a Stranger
Human Parts

A letter to Abraham, Venice Beach.

Remember me? We met in Venice, five years ago. I had been surprised to like it. Everybody had told me to love SF but to despise LA. Like a little sister who’d never win a beauty prize. The one you’d indulge to visit but who would be, as she may, a disappointment.

I liked your eyes. The landscape in it. One day, I decided to take your photograph. You asked me for ten bucks. There was no way I could take your picture for free, you said. I liked the way you said it: you were thereby declaring your humanity. The fact that you were not just a good shot. A peculiarity of Venice. A member of the freakshow. You took my hand. Yours was swollen. After I left, I remembered you through all my travels, until now in this café in Paris, visiting friends, next door to the Louvre, where of all people possible, I am thinking about you. I’m sad I can’t find the words to tell your story, to invent your life. The one that, obviously, never happened. I think it’s fucked up. Please take good care, Abraham. At least I know your name.

Abraham, Venice Beach, August 2010. © Carrie Speaking

(Rewritten in the form of a short letter; original story “What’s Up Abraham?” published here:

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