Article written

Here or there, now and again 0

Dear Bradshaw, 

Living in a big city, I see beggars every day, and with all the walking I do I’m sometimes convinced I’ve seen them all. But a new one always pops up, of course, here or there, now and again.

The latest is a woman who begs near my school at the corner of Via Nazionale and Via Torino. I think she’s a leper, Shaw, because her nose is missing. I mean there’s no housing for the nostrils. The entire protuberance is gone. Just two bullet-looking holes surrounded by raw, red skin, as if she’d had a nose yesterday but now no.

I tried not to stare but it was impossible. For me it’s an instinct to examine the world and the way things compare and contrast. Anything bizarre or extraordinary attracts my attention. I can’t help but notice a midget with a hunchback or a hand that lacks a finger. I’m too fascinated, spellbound, as if I need to process the anomaly, to fit it into my spectrum of experience.

In the seven plus years I’ve lived in Rome, I’ve observed many distinguishing characteristics, especially on buses and trains — crossed eyes, crooked teeth, pock-marked complexions, fist-sized freckles, birthmarks as big and purple as eggplants, and warts sprouting long, thick hairs — and whenever I think I’ve seen everything, life throws me a curveball.

I remember living in Long Beach, California, waiting in line at a bank when Siamese twins entered. Connected by the cranium, they walked side-by-side with their necks bent and backs arched to form a human bridge. If their heads had been any closer, they’d have shared a brain. I rubbed my eyes, each one separately, before believing what I was seeing. These were not bushy eyebrows, huge ears, or eerily eccentric clothes. This was something beyond my wildest imagination, freaks of nature in the flesh.

Anyway, Shaw, that’s it. I’ve got nothing to add. I feel far away today, from everything, myself included. I don’t know what to make of any of this, know what I mean? And perhaps that’s my problem, thinking I can understand, trying to.

On another note, your story about the kitchen’s last sponge and how you used it to extinguish the cook’s moustache was hilarious. Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

22 people like this post.

subscribe to comments RSS

There are no comments for this post

Please, feel free to post your own comment

* these are required fields

Scott Sussman is powered by WordPress and FREEmium Theme.