Come Find Me by the Water

This Is Exile: Prologue (Lisbon, 2018)

John Gorman
30 min readApr 14, 2024
Photo by Svetlana Gumerova on Unsplash

I heard no echo
There was distortion everywhere
I found my ego
I felt rubato standing there
Found my transcendence
It played in mono-painted blue
You were the Pierrot
I was the dark room

— Blur, “The Narcissist” (2023)

She was taller than I expected. Much taller. Once she stood up, she was closer to 6'2" than 5'2". I was not. Importantly, she was real, and so was I. Finally. I stood still, gazing up at her eyes. My heart pounded harder than the Tagus against the marble steps of the Cais das Colunas.

“This is going to make one helluva story someday,” I thought, knowing full well it already made one helluva story, and that I was always going to tell it. That’s the storyteller’s curse: events are plot, everything is content, we tease our thoughts into narratives and flatten our friends into characters. This poor tall Italian project manager at a global German automotive giant didn’t ask to become a turning point or an opening salvo. She was just a shy bookworm meeting an internet stranger at night, hoping I’d be half as interesting as I pretended to be in my stories and wouldn’t make any awkward or violent advances. Some people are better as concepts; I’m not sure I’m not one of those people. I started that way.



John Gorman

Yarn Spinner + Brand Builder + Renegade. Award-winning storyteller with several million served. For inquiries: