Tuesday, August 10, 2010

About a woman, before the other five or six things happened tonight

(I've briefly touched on this three years ago. Find it and you get nothing.)

I had been there twice before. Once I was really really young, like Velcro on my pants instead of buttons and zippers young. It was probably an emergency room, for too much coffee, or drugs, or life. I didn't understand it then, and it doesn't make much sense now. The other time a friend borrowed money to see a movie. This time I went in a different door, the back entrance, or whatever entrance will be suitable for what would be the next fifteen minutes of my life. I was given a tag, a number and a title. Visitor. Three digits. A room? A bed? My own number? whatever.

The elevator was full. Balloons. Happy. Flowers. Both happy and sad. And me; uncomfortable, lost, and not entirely sure how I had suddenly become an adult.

A dark hallway, then another dark hallway. Screams, or cries, or whimpers followed me. Smiles sometimes. But mostly no one paying any attention to me, the kid dressed in his fathers suit. (not really, but that is what I see when I think about me on that day.)

Her room was even darker than the hallways. It was almost Christmas; the sun had given up for the day and was off to give some fortunate souls way more time that day to fix their mistakes than it gave me or her.

The new baby slept close by. It was so small and I thought it weird it needed a bracelet. But I still don't know how these sort of things work, so give it a bracelet. And a beanie.

She was a haze of drugs, pain, and happiness.

That asshole who grabbed here once and shook her when they came into my shitty twelve hour a week retail job sat in a chair. He smiled. I'm sure.

No one in the room knew. There would be U-Haul trailers full of moves towards the Rockies, fists and black eyes, more children and then a slouching march back towards this shit hole. Names would fall out of my mind to be forgotten forever but a face of a man that I would give a lot to see in pain far worse then what he was capable of forcing on others sticks in my mind to this day. Some bar, some alley, some crowded supermarket and all will be returned.

Or not.

He got his. Waking up in an empty home, children and wife gone forever. Good. He deserves more. Much much more. One mans more is my worse. Fuck him.

But as I said, no one knew. I shook his hand. "Congratulations!" This was forever for them. He saved her from dancing, from creepy men with piss fetishes and drivers with one name. He was her ticket out. Her and this baby, safe forever.

That is what I thought.

I was wrong. I am all the time.

I talked to her briefly. She made little sense, a field of drugs different then the ones we had known, and I just stared at my tag. It had already started to peel off of my shirt. A country one with mother of pearl buttons. I was just walking. That tag wanted to jump.

And I guess I did too.

I didn't understand how people I knew could have children. I didn't understand where all of our dreams and backbones went. I didn't understand how mistakes could suddenly turn into miracles.

We once planned to kill ourselves together. Or at least we had a back up plan. Of pills and booze and some sad song that played on repeat when eighth grade was too much to handle and you thought you would never fall in love again.

But we did. She did. He did. And I stood between her, him, and the result of their love. Or the result of being bored and sad and alone and confused and worried and high and drunk and misled. Or at least some combination of those things.

I didn't hold the child. I didn't hug the mother. I just scratched my head.

I didn't know how I got there. I didn't know what to do.