A Surreal Junction
New York’s nightlife and food has a zing to it. The energy can be energizing or should I say electrifying to many that relish this lifestyle. Fridays and Saturdays the bars and restaurants are full. The smells, sights and sounds can be sensational, but as for Jim from Indiana he could only watch from the outside. If being homeless is better than going back home it must have been bad. His appearance had deteriorated over time, he had begun to slide into a hole perhaps he partially dug for himself which he may never get out off. His life had gone to hell in a hand basket, so it seemed. Should one walk a yard in his shoes we may only then have a glimpse of his inner plight.
The City can get hot and sultry in the summer; with nothing to do Jim wandered the streets of this hectic metropolitan. With all the time in the world he was beginning to form routines for him to null the boredom, so he followed a routine at night, especially on weekends, it was going down in the West Village. I suppose this was his nightlife, watching other have a nice time at the clubs and bars and perhaps take a look at all the young ladies. Jim was beginning to form new patterns, and one such routine was to stand by a popular pizza join; a slice at this place was about 5 bucks. On that one particular night when Jim was hanging around this pizza joint he reached into the trash to retrieve a discarded pizza box, when he was tap on the shoulder. Alarmed he drops the box back into the trash and turns around, and with a quizzical look on his face he says, “I was, aaaa…”, what could he say, may be embarrassed, shamed, I would!! In a pleasant soft tone she said, “no, no, I really didn’t mean to alarm you, I have some pizza that I had planned to take back for my friend, but…, she just called, she’s out dancing all night. Why don’t you have it?’ Jim was doing the moonwalk in really, really, slow motion, perhaps drifting away because of his body odor and utter disgust and perhaps shame for his action, being caught picking from a trashcan. “No, I’m okay,” he says. The young lady “I insist, please or else I will have to through it.” Jim gets serious and feasibly real self-conscious, stretches his hand and accepted it. Looking at the box he slowly draws the box to his chest; the smells would make any hungry man to salvage. In a low humiliating tone he says, “thank you”, and as he turns the pretty woman says, “Here is my card, I’m a social worker I may be able to help you, if that’s what you are looking for.” Was this the crack of light streaming through Jim’s cave that had no exit out off? A depleted Jim in a strident but tortured voice says, “thanks I will call you”, as she ebbs off into the night.
Jim had begun to form bad habits, waking up late was one of them, it was about noon, and on sunny days the crack in the roof of his cardboard thatched hut blazed into Jim’s eyes which always woke him up. Sitting up, he idly stares at the pizza box that he got last night. All of a sudden he rises and digs into his pockets and pull out its contents. Sorting through the stuff shoved in his jeans, finds what he was looking for and hurriedly begins to get dressed, Today he was getting into the best cloths he had and then he shuffles off.
Jim was looking for an address and had finally found it. He press the buzzer and a voice on the other end, “Who is it”?. “Jim” he replies, “I’m the guy that you gave the pizza too”, she buzzes him in and says; “when you come up take a seat”. The young lady from last night appears after about 10 minutes, she come out to the seating area and takes Jim into her office. “ By the way I’m Clara, I’m glad you decided to come, what can I do for you”? Where was Jim to begin, the beginning I suppose!! Its is tough to get into ones mind, after all the ego has its own agenda, always trying to save face with the truth hidden by that façade we want to shade the realities, but the truth always rears its ugly head showing hinds of what really lays deep within. As for Jim, one would presume he needs help on a deeper level and until he tackles his psychological bottleneck, it would seem hard to move forward in a beneficial way.
Clara wonderful attitude and easy gong manners had put Jim at ease, now he had begun to find his mojo, Clara had ignited it for him, but honestly they were from different planets. His eyes tracked her every move, this dainty blonde in a red dress had surly tantalized him and she seemed to be fanning the flames, whether it was intentional or unintentional, God only knows. One thing was for sure, Jim was happy after a long time, his demeanor was surreal. Perhaps Clara was quietly assessing Jim or was she seeing more in him.
A few minutes had gone by when she gets up, turns around and says “coffee” Jim with a smile, “yes, cream and 3 spoons of sugar. “Wow! Clara replies, “You like your coffee real sweet, by the way how was the pizza?” Rather embarrassed he replies in a low tone “ it was good”, just that question changed his gait; within a split second he appeared homeless again. Handing him the cup she begins to realize what that question had done to him; “you know Jim your life is in your hands.” Jim sits there silently without a word. Clara sensing his silence walks to the window and began to talk and may be this could be the start of a new beginning or at least one with noble intentions would wish for and this is what she says:-
“ Life is a journey and on this journey there will be twists and turns, or so it may seem that way, and sometimes if we branch off down a lane that we never planned to take, but we take it anyway, the unknown could be fearful, it is at this time that our character determines the outcome. Just as a flight in mid-air that has to correct its course, so do we, constantly fine tuning our direction as we venture through until we arrive at that precise spot. Never be perturbed when the chaos and confusion may look like its taking over making you feel it to be an error in judgment. Preserve your self; learn to ride the storm, for it is you state of mine that determines the outcome. It is only the strong and able that shall prevail, for these are only bends in the road, it is an illusion. It is that mental belief in one’s self that will achieve the goals you have set out to get. So just kickback and enjoy the ride.”
Jim was glued to his chair. What did he get from this talk? Did he leave with the message that he needs to master how to fish or does he lay needy waiting for someone to feed him a fish!!
To be continued…