i tried

i tried to relate to regular people.

people with the same degree.

city condo owners. married. happily at that.

when i tried my eyes would squint.

i wondered what the fuck are they talking about.

trumping each other’s careers. vacation home comparisons.

when you started talking about how you all got free stuff

from the community garden space supposedly for the Washingtonians who build this city for generations….

staring blankly at my phone as you all chatter.

i never have to try with the Washingtonians i serve.

my eyes wide open when we sat at the wobbly white plastic table at the shelter who warehoused you

25 years passed you by in prison

at age 15 you caught your younger brother in your arms when he got shot. got killed.

you slept at the shelter who warehoused you. never complained about a thing.

you said fuck as much i did. you told me no one ever kept a promise.

that you worked as a sanitation worker in the hot humid summer.

there was no one you could depend on.

i shook my head. i understood the feeling. not the experience. but that feeling that it’s up to you to make it each and every day.

even when you were too exhausted to shower or wash your face or even care.

my mood disorder not otherwise specified was slowly making my sob and drink and write almost daily.

you left the shelter warehouse where you slept. i thought about where you were from time to time

i got your text today “still working at the warehouse?”

i wrote him back and told him nah.

when you called i screamed your name. “how are youuuuuuuuuuuuu?”

“i am living up here in the rich part of the city with that voucher you helped me get. i got a huge apartment.”

ohhhhhhhhh that makes me sooooooooooooo happy i scream in his ears.

you told me you wanted to inject what made you feel so good.

you were in a horrible accident on the back of the truck that tore your tendon from your left wrist.

you wanted to inject that warm feeling of love and belonging just one more time. you never felt that way again. not ever like that first time.

you decided against it today. too much to lose you tell me. i smile and shake my head.

--

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adriana suriano

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.