I found You Who squatting over a row of trash bags on Royal Street, picking through shiny gold and purple streamers, which matched his purple tights and gold star-shaped medallion.
“The old lady up there just died,” he told me, pointing toward a beautiful balcony with cream colored balustrades. On the balcony was a metal table and a chair, the perfect place, I imagined, to drink a coffee or smoke a cigarette and watch the street scene.
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You Who had a mustache, a fancy leather conductors cap and over his loud pink T-shirt a leather jacket that said, spray-painted on the back in a font similar to that of the old Nickelodeon logo: “True Fiction”. He reminded me of a futuristic pirate type individual, and I spoke to him for Digital Dying as he picked through the recently deceased woman’s artistic articles…
I don’t think I ever really understood death. I had no idea what it was. When I was younger people just told me you go to heaven, and that nobody is ever gone. Then I had some friends die, beyond just relatives. It probably wasn’t until this one friend died that I realized what ‘dead’ really means.
This isn’t the first time I have rummaged through someone’s dead stuff on Royal Street before. As long as you respect their stuff I think it is okay. This lady died and I respect her stuff, and I’m going to turn her stuff into something else.
I think people who die live on inside the loved ones who remember them, and they become these people. The dead become the living. Is it possible for human beings to take on other forms after death, I don’t know, that’s a tricky question to answer. I think spirits can be in other people, and other forms. I mean that larger spirit. So if someone has the spirit of the crow in them and those crow-like qualities, every time you see a crow you’re going to be reminded of them. And who’s to say that’s not the way it actually is.
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All the while, You Who was shoving his street loot into a yellow bucket, which he suddenly hoisted over his shoulder then said, “I gotta go!”
He rode off down Royal Street on a bicycle.