This is James. He came to my show last night, and seemed to enjoy my photographs. “That guy, he’s sad. And that reminds me of my house. Cigarette butts everywhere, Keep Out, barbed wire. And that girl, she just looks like she’s scared. She doesn’t want to talk to anybody. Sad.”
He stayed for the whole show. He tried to make conversation with my friends and family, struggling with the social nuances of entering and leaving conversations. He told me, “You know what I like about you guys? Your brains.”
I asked if I could take his photograph with my art. Few people are as comfortable in front of the camera as James is. But throughout the evening, he kept pinching the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut. “You keep making that face.”
"Yeah… Sometimes, life feels like this." He sat down of the ground and slumped over. "And sometimes, it feels like this. Sometimes it feels like this. Or this."
He gave me a broken watch he’d been carrying around. “You gave me something, so I’m giving you something.”
James was still around when we were closing up. “When I was a kid we had this station wagon, and my mom would yell at all of us to ‘get in the station wagon and don’t make a peep!’ and if someone did, then there’d be elbows. And it hurt. And one time I decided, I’m not gonna take it anymore. So I told her, ‘beat this.’ And I took it like a man. But that was my mom, man. She didn’t know what else to do.”