Wednesday, April 20, 2011

when i was about 16 years old

we would drink over at this guys apartment
we'll call him alex
alex wasn't exactly wrapped too tight
he probably needed medication
or long term care?
either way
his apartment provided us with a safe place
to do some underage drinking
alex never bought alcohol for us
in fact, we usually bought for him
he also never made a move on any of us
he was neither gay
nor interested

his apartment
was really a one room efficiency in a flop house
it was a real shithole
alex worked at the produce terminal
slinging cabbage
he made $40 cash per day
5 days a week
sometimes
we would be at his place drinking
while he threw cabbage.

alex would come home from the terminal
stinking.
within an hour or two
he would be shit faced
yelling
at us
standing in front of the mirror
drinking
swearing
pointing
after a couple of hours
i would begin to imagine that he was yelling at his step father
either for beating him
or molesting him-
perhaps both?

more drinking
yelling
sometimes crying
swearing
breaking things
there would be moments of uncomfortable silence
that seemed to last an hour or more
then laughter
and tears...
this happened every single time
that i was over there-
each night played out like a comedy of errors
that none of us really understood

and then one day, i just never saw him again
there was no story
or reason
life had simply changed
i went in another direction
towards a different kind of pain
that would take me years to understand

over time i've often thought of alex
drunk and tired
broke down
and alone
stinking, of cabbage.
i like to think that maybe he was an angel
or a saint
or a savior,
i like to imagine his purpose
being greater then i could have ever considered-
it hurts me to think that he may have just been a crazy drunken victim of a madness and terror that most of us are lucky to have never been witness to.

when i look back now
i realize how fortunate i am:
in spite of the poor decisions
and the mistakes that i have made
some version of God
has shown me more mercy and grace
then i could ever possibly deserve

and i can only hope now
that alex
eventually found Him too...

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