Saturday, October 22, 2011

A deacon, not a porter

Anthony wants to talk to me alone. It’s been awhile since I’ve really talked with him. He often sits on the steps with his partner, Gary. I’ve seen him in the back of worship services more than once, like last Sunday. White hair. Piercing blue eyes with a sense of sadness. A sense of pain.
Tells me that when he arrived here yesterday, the top bolt locks on the big wooden doors were not locked, only the horizontal ones. Someone was pulling  on it trying to force it pen.  He shooed the guy away. Sat there with Gary  for three hours.  Called the police, just in case. But he wanted me to know this.  
We talk about the situation with the homeless people  on our steps. Sometines Anthony seems like he could be one of them. . What I didn’t know was that he was once a seminarian. Preparing for the priesthood. Went to to Cali, Columbia. Came back to New York when his mother got sick. His father all but disowned him, If you wan tto work with niggers  and spics, you don’t need to leave home, just look around you...Well with his father, and then being gay, he left those priesthood dreams behind. 
More and  more people on the steps. Even a matress there today. How do you keep order? I talk about Goddard and Reachout. The various folks. He tells me the story of a woman who died on the steps during the yeras  we were gone. Denied a home by her own sister after her husband pushed her out. Father O”Connor had to go out to Potter's  Field to do a service. (I never knew.) And someone defecated on the  86th Street steps last week. Who cleaned it up? I asked. Your porter, says Anthony, he does good work. Ah,he means Deacon James. And he refers to Danielle as my daughter
He tells me where every free meal is. Every day. What each church offers. And offers to share all that with Danielel. Yes, we need that.I heard your sermon last week. You had these young people.  I like those protestors down at Wall Street, he says, but there has to be unity. Have to get on the same page. It seems like women, like gays. Hell, I'm gay. We got to be of one voice...I  look at his blue eyes looking somewhere in the distance. I thank him.
There’s an older white guy on the steps with an open bottle. I tell him that’s not going to work. 
Hope is in early to sit in the gallery. The Telling the Truth exhibit. We’re reviewing  all our rental requests.  As we’re talking, Deacon James comes in. We joke about him being  the porter. Then he goes off not feeling well. I ask if he's ok. I will be, he says. I ask him to call if anything's  wrong.
Jane comes to talk through her coming to start worship and set up an office this weekend. She's brought a friend from her bard and her assistant, Tia. She’s really moving in. This is exciting and who knows what could come of this? 
Whie we’re tlking, Ji Young and her daughter  Miranda are back. As usual, lots of issues. How could single motherhood in this city be otherwise? 
We're  finishing our conversation wih Jane. Feel like we’re close to ready. Hope is surprised that Jane met Jeremy by coming back for her purse and finding  him playing gospel on the piano. That it all happened here. 
RL has come in with his own new creative idea to move things  forward. 
There is this sense of something about to happen.

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