adriana suriano
3 min readApr 30, 2023

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So now the best I could do for this amazing young man, a survivor of gun violence, that the best I could do on this rainy, winter Friday night was a cot at the dirtiest shelter in DC.

After 6 months in the Ivy league teaching hospital, I wheeled him into the lobby.

“Yes?” that’s how we were greeted. The same Catholic non-profit ran this shelter.

“Hello! A bed was saved for Louis by (I name dropped the boss who was a total dick. I had to tell him how wonderful he was to even get this cot in the dirtiest shelter.)

“ There are no saved beds. We don’t save beds.”

I immediately thought okay, I am going to call Bill and tell him Louis is going to stay with us. Bill will just have to carry Louis up and down the stairs.

“Can you contact (name dropping again). I know you do not save beds. This was done by (name dropped the person who disperses the money to this organization.”

“Oh, I see it in the system. Alright he needs an intake. You can’t stay for that.”

Louis and I stared at each other.

“Adriana, can you take this with you?” It was bags of his medical supplies and nice clothes.

“Of course. Whenever you need it, I will bring it to you.” After I said that I was like how the fuck am I going to do that. Louis is technically not even a client. I just promised to never forget him, so I didn’t.

It’s Friday at 7 pm. It’s raining. I get lost going home in a city that I have lived for 25 years. I start crying and talking to my mother who passed away 4 years ago.

“Mom, so I am fucking lost. It’s raining. I already hit the curb when I turned. I left Louis in the worst place in the city. So dirty mom. You would have helped me clean that piece of shit shelter. At least Louis’ room is near the bathroom. Mom, at 52 years fucking old, I have nowhere to go. Just like when you hated being with dad, you had nowhere to go. Rosanna hates me again. Dad, you know how he is. If i have to move in with dad and work remotely, I will just become fat and more depressed. Maybe less of a drunk because dad isn’t going to put up with it.”

A 20 minute ride home turned into 50. I parked. I immediately went to my neighborhood bar. I ordered a bottle of rose. Of course, it wasn’t good. It was too sweet. I did what I did last time. I put in my earbuds and listened to rap music and cried. No one cared there. That’s why it’s such a glorious place. The bartenders are nice. The people that come here are not.

I add a lot of ice to my glass. I like everything starkly cold. It’s rainy and 28 degrees outside. My wine is the same temperature. I have a flooding of memories. All the bad ones. Then the what ifs.

The frustration of having one-way relationships. The takers. I drink the next mouthful. Those fucking takers. My neighbor who thought I could never be busy because I don’t have kids. She asked me to pick her daughter up from school so she could go get a drink with a guy she met on hinge. I agreed. She asked me to walk her daughter to school so she could go to the gym. I agreed. Fuck I wanted to go to the gym today. My dad anxiously waits for my daily 7 am calls so he starts his day with having talked to someone. He has no friends. No family in the United States. Sometimes I wish I could sleep a little later. Maybe even try to go to the gym early. Or write. Or get coffee with someone. I am kind of like my dad now. I don’t have any friends.

I think a little drunk and overheated in the bar. How would I prefer to move into the world?

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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.