CHAPTER 13 – I
Despite the best efforts of his parents to keep him isolated from outside influence, Aricame was a master of social interaction. The subtle cues that people traditionally pick up in childhood were immediately grasped by Aricame upon arriving in southern California. People were drawn to him like children to those newfangled Tootsie Roll Pops. He spent every day at work rallying his fellow stevedores to this cause or that. Honest movements toward better working conditions or mischievous scams to get out of honest work, it didn’t matter. He just liked exerting the ability to bend groups of people to his will. His nights were spent out drinking at local watering holes. Here he displayed the same command over groups through song, storytelling, and seduction. Wherever there was a crowd, he was home.
Aricame had been on his own for two years and was really living life to its fullest. Still on good terms with his parents, they communicated often. He did miss certain aspects of home even though he was blossoming out on his own. He visited a couple times a year. When the three of them were together, he could sense that there was always something just underneath the surface – something that they wanted to discuss but couldn’t find the words to do so. The distance (both physical and emotional) was awkward at times, but their love for him was obvious and he appreciated the freedom they allowed him even more because he knew how much it went against their instincts.
Then one day at the yard, one of his friends was crushed underneath a shipping container in a freak accident. Aricame was at the front of the mob when the container was finally lifted and the splattered remains of his compatriot were unveiled. The sight fascinated Aricame. He had not seen human entrails in such vivid and colorful detail before. The sense of loss (possibly sadness) he felt was almost all intellectual. Once there was a person…then there was goo. A life was just extinguished with nary a care from anyone but the decedent’s closest friends and families. Aricame felt a newfound sense of proportion. Appreciation mixed with indifference. Perspective.
Realizing that his own life had been stuck in place for a while, Aricame decided he needed a proverbial mountain to climb. He wanted to accomplish something that would be remembered, recorded in history books for posterity. The dead dock man had been a former track and field athlete and talked about the sport endlessly. Always a good athlete himself, Aricame dedicated himself to conquering several disciplines, starting with track and field, with an eye toward the Olympics.
Easy and effervescent, the extrovert
Inhabits spaces of various populations
Whereas the rejuvenation of the introvert
Comes from intentional periods of isolation