Saturday, June 29, 2013

On the edge


Walking down 86th to the door, I see Sean tucked under the scaffolding supports beside the wall again. I walk over, say, Sean, you’ve got to go...
Sure, sure, he says, just give me a minute...

I go back inside, but I can’t concentrate. Stephen comes in, ready to do business, but I keep thinking about Sean. So I call Reachout and they agree to send a team. 

I go back outside, and they’re arriving. They talk to Sean. Then come to me. He’s not going to move, they say. Then remind me that he’s a diabetic, an addict and at high risk and the heat...And then remind me that if we call 9-1-1 and he still refuses, there’s nothing to be done. Technically, he’s not breaking the law. I shake my head. Go back again, Please Sean, just help me out here...
Yeah,yeah just a minute. 

I leave. No movement. Look, Sean, if you don’t move, I’ve got to call the police. 
Just go ahead and do it, he says, just stop threatening me..
I’m not threatening you...
Just fuckin do it. Waste my time. Waste your time. Waste their fuckin time. they need to be stoppin rape,murder, what not, not dealin with some motherfucker with no feet...

So,just help me out OK?

With that he flip out starts hurling his food containers, rice flying all over the place..
Sean...I turn to go...
I don’t mean to disrespect you, but I got to piss so I’m gonna whip it out and piss all over you...

I turn and start back one more time, but Stephen and Cara stop me. Bob, take a walk, Stephen says. 

I think about it. Start to walk away. His voice rising...lots of devils and mothrfuckers flying my way. As I walk down 86th, the Outreach workers see I’m breathing heavy. Ask me what’s wrong. So I tell them. They’re going full social worker on me. 

Look, it’s hard. I want to be compassionate. Buy if he lays there with his cardboard, the neighbors call. People are too afraid to come for their dance classes.  The neighbors think we don’t respect our own property. I don’t know....

They remind me that they got him his wheel chair. Had him on his way to getting prostheses.Had him lined up for housing. Not shelter.  Real housing. But he refuses to cooperate.

I take my walk. Come back. Stephen and Cara still there.  It’s a sign of my worn state that I allowed myself to get drawn in to a fight with a man with no feet. A further sign that I find myself saying. Look, we can’t help him if he won’t help himself. He’s chasing to die and it’s killing me. OK,just not here, OK? Stephen points out that he’s gone.  And I’m sorry that I said that. I  know that he may not be even capable of making that choice to help himself. But not here.Not this way. 

I’ve made careful plans to help Christopher get housing. But while Stephen was giving a tour, he slipped out so I have to tell the housing team to cancel their visit. And I start to feel I’m losing it again. 

Martin and I look to each other for news. But there’s none. I remind him that Spain is playing Italy in the Confederation Cup semi. I need a break, so go visit Beppe and see Spain win after a valiant game by Italy on penalty kicks. 

Back again. Session meeting to work through wording on a resolution.Why so hard? Frustrating phone calls. Didn’t we talk about all this already? We’re finally done. I’m done.

Ready to leave, I see Soli in the chapel. With another woman. One of her students, a middle aged Hondurena, is with her. It’s been the last dance class of the season. The students brought champagne. They invite me to join them. And ultimately for a late, Spanish style dinner. 

When I get back to lock up, Marc is in the chapel alone, weaving long electric guitar solo line son his classic Gretsch.

Time to head home. 

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