i understand why people are tired of feeling
of bearing witness to pain
to their own
when i met Jamal in the alley behind my condo he had fallen. the way he tried to get up i knew it was heroin. i brought him coca cola in a bottle. three to be exact. also some tuna salad with artisan crackers.
i smiled when he told me that chocolate covered pretzels were his favorite.
as he sobbed he told me he was only 28.
using heroin only for 1 year. his family was in virginia.
you never know what’s true when someone is an addict.
does it really matter?
i gave him white socks and a t-shirt from my husband’s closet.
he looked into the small back yard we share with our neighbor.
“what beautiful flowers you have planted. they look so good despite this heat.”
i rubbed his back as he sobbed. thanked him for the complement on my flowers.
asked if he wanted me to call his mother.
“it’s been a year Jamal. she’s probably worried about you.”
“when you see me around the neighborhood just don’t let me die until i see my mother again.”
we both sobbed. Jamal in the lawn chair I brought to the alley.
me standing next to him.
“i promise Jamal. When i see you i will make sure you are hydrated and fed. Let’s keep you alive until you see her.”