Sunday, May 1, 2011

when i was 12 years old

i had a friend
we'll call him dwight
him and i were pretty close
we did all of the things
that you might expect a couple of
12 year old boys would do
we threw rocks at windows
rode bikes together
caught bugs in jars
you get the idea...
but after a couple of years
we went our separate ways

i think i was about 18
i was drinking outside of a liquor store
with my new friends
i asked if any of them had seen my old pal
and they began making fun of dwight for
still living in his parents basement
i didn't know that he had the same disease as gary coleman
in fact, he was actually in his 30's now
they were laughing and carrying on.
i had a hard time understanding all of this,
the disease part of it made sense
but when i looked back on everything
i couldn't figure out why
a grown man
wanted to be friends
with a 12 year old boy?
i always assumed that dwight was the same age as me
so it never occurred to me to ask...
now i wondered if he was gay
or maybe he was retarded?

a couple of years later i ran in to dwight on the street
he still looked the same
i could picture him standing on my front steps...
we talked about the good ol' days
summertime
so and so,
you know?
after a few minutes i remebered all of the questions
that i had prepared for him
but i didn't have the courage to ask
i just let it go,
and it seemed to me like he was grateful for that?
i doubt that he could have answered me anyway?
i guess it's better this way
both of us never having to confront the uncomfortable truth?

sitting here
tonight,
i believe in my heart
that i was the only friend dwight had ever known,
lost in time or sickness,
perhaps he was lost in madness?
he never knew anything different
and i wasn't going to take that away from him
not then
not now

not ever...

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