The first thing I noticed were the piercings. How could I not? There was a silver sliver of a bone through his nose, then studs on both sides of his nose, some complicated piece that wound through and around his ear like something out of a sci fi movie. There were tattoos on his neck, his hands, peeking out from the edges of his all black outfit and his black porkpie hat. But he didn’t seem like a tough guy. No, his skin was pale and his voice was soft with a Slavic accent, and when he spoke it almost sounded like purring.
We got on the subject of listening to rain fall on trees, a sound you miss in in LA, and he mentioned he was from New Zealand.
“Really? You don’t have a New Zealand accent.”
“I’m half Maori, half Ukranian.”
“Wow. That’s a mix.”
He told me about his mother, a fierce Maori woman with tattoos on her face and an animal intelligence but not a lot of education. She had been dancing in a touring Polynesian band where she met an Ukrainian guitarist. They had their children in the US to give them citizenship but when she divorced her husband, fearing a custody battle, she kidnapped the boys and went back to New Zealand. For years, he was certain his father was looking for him but when he was finally able to go to the Ukraine, he found to his dismay that his father had moved on to a new family and had never sought out his two sons.
I offered lamely, “Some people, they can’t face the mistakes they made in the past. The only way they know how to survive is to try to forget everything and just move on.”
He nodded, nothing more to say about this subject. This hole.
Half man. Half boy.
Half hard. Half soft.
Half Maori. Half Ukranian.
Hole in his self.