i met a man a few nights ago, who i think i will remember forever. maybe not on my deathbed but once in a while til then. i was with my friends and they were drunk. everyone’s friends are always drunk, or leaning on Lean. what even is Lean?
everyone’s friends were drunk, but not this man, jamal. his name was jamal but i’ll call him “tom” so that if you’re not also from bangladesh you can’t “other” him.
so the friends were drunk or stumbling from one bar to another and i was lagging behind and tom was selling roses. in the bar my friends told me “ah, this is a real parisian bar you can do WHATEVER you want!”
tom came in with his roses, all the white french people at the tables discussing art or asses. and my friend bought one red rose for me, one white rose for joe, and one coffee for tom, and wingled tom into staying, who was winglable because it was the end of his night’s work.
i won’t remember tom on my death bed but i know at least four people who will. his mother, his wife and his two little kids who lived in bangladesh, who in february 2016 couldn’t see tom but could feel his presence as he walked shyly amongst drunk french people and foreigners selling roses stem by stem.
we talked out in the rain. my friend swapped beanies; tom’s surfer beanie for his thick black french saint james beanie, and tom told us his job in bangladesh was selling clothes. in fact, he had a whole shop. “is it hard being away from your family?” my friend asked and i had to translate from french to english with my head down thinking “don’t ask that,” and, “what do you think of photography, like, in general?”
my head was down, but who knows what shy tom wanted to be asked.
at the end of the night tom still had almost all his roses. he had sold five when we saw him at 2am, since 8pm, two to my friend, and he had given me four more for free, because we spent half an hour with him.
my six roses ended up strewn on the street after a late night fight (well, four because i gave two to a man cross legged and asking for money and kisses sitting in his own filth on the way home), which is sad, but not as sad as being far far away from your home because the political parties are fighting for real, or as sad as watching george pell’s testimony on a laptop (i fell asleep with his words coming through headphones and the laptop resting on my stomach) or watching a ridiculous man inch closer to being a presidential candidate.
in some good news though, sharks are coming further up the swan river, and more local news – pat dodson; hooray! and international news – today in paris it snowed, big clumps of multi-flake flakes clinging to everyone’s coats and hair and faces, and personal – you are loved, at least by me and four other people.