I saw you long before we met; you and your girlfriends on a street corner near the French Quarter, surrounded by a crowd. You were playing guitar while Neff and Aiko accompanied on the violin and viola. It was hauntingly beautiful and so very sad, for as I approached it was clear despite this performance you had another occupation, one that was destroying you by degrees. You were beautiful even with the heavy makeup you used to cover the bruises on your face, even with the obvious needle tracks in your arms.

Another woman watching you perform was nearly in tears and I asked her why she was crying. She told me it was such a waste, such talent being lost here in the abattoir of the New Orleans flesh pots. I agreed with her and I watched as the three of you played, the music floating from your instruments like the scent of roses caught upon a light summer breeze. It was sad, but beneath it there was anger, perhaps too subtle for others to perceive, but so clear to my senses. You were dying, being murdered, really, and you felt so powerless. Perhaps that was what the woman I spoke with understood- not that musical artists were being wasted as whores, but that they were being destroyed.

I watched for an hour until a hard faced man arrived to take the money others had left in appreciation of your artistry and order you back to your “real job” with gruff, Cajun obscenities. I saw the anger and the surrender in you.

I fell in love with you that very day, that very moment. I do not act rashly, yet I set aside everything I had planned, the course I expected my life to follow, and I returned to Boston to prepare.

Three weeks after that fateful Saturday in April, Jacques picked me up at a bus station in Mississippi and I played the part expected, allowing him to draw me into that dark realm where he imprisoned you. Three weeks after that, he dragged me into your flat, the one the three of you shared, and said you had another girl to look after. You were not terribly happy and you snapped at me, demanding my name.

“Angevin,” I told you, pronouncing it in my best French accent: Ohn-sheh-veen.

“Fuck that,” you laughed, “you’re Angie. Get used to it.”

One Response to “1963”

  1. Please don’t do this.