How did you get here, so far from home? His hair short, always windswept to a fault, a golden cloud. The sun went down hours ago, hiding out in the chaparral outside of our sleepy coastal town. It’s for the best, watching him peel the label, getting some quarters for the table. Unsteady, trembling hands, he wipes them across the front of his jeans three, four times, folds his chambray around him like a pair of wings. A drop of the ocean in his eyes, staring off when he finally comes back to the bar. The cold comfort of the things that ruin us: was it love? pride? boredom? His gaze goes out past the foothills, somewhere back across the Pacific. It is always love that ruins us. I didn’t notice the bruises on his neck, the polyester circles in the back of his eyes.