Full Meal Ordeal

Seeing him light up when I returned made me feel so incredibly happy. Then I realized he was just happy to see the food and not me. Through the burning sting of rejection, I found comfort in not being like other addicts. I was a man of my word – kind of. To prove it I offered him the tray of pop as a sign of trust. He took it and grimaced. “Don’t worry, there’s food to go with that. D’you know where we can eat?” ‘I thought you were gonna buy me some food?’ he accused in an I-knew-you-were-gonna-let-me-down tone of voice. “Don’t worry, I’ve got your food,” I reassured, opening the bag for him to see. ‘Then give it to me,’ he ordered, unsuccessfully snatching it from me. “I can’t, not here.” “Hmmph!” he snorted, nostrils flaring, eyes stabbing. “My food’s in here too. Let’s go somewhere.” ‘Don’t want to.’ “You don’t wanna eat?” I snapped back. ‘It’s up to you.’ “Look, I just wanna eat, that’s it. If you don’t wanna, just say so and I can give it to somebody else.” He was silent. “That’s it, I’m outta here!” I screamed, fed up with his games. The public tuned in, but I was past caring. He pointed towards the alley. “Yeah what about it?” I asked. He pointed again more insistently.

Hoping he was joking, I mentally traversed the length of the alley to check if it’d been cleaned up over the past couple of days. It hadn’t. Dumpsters full of restaurant scraps, flies and maggots rotted in the sun. Doorways reeking of urine and other bodily wastes impaled the senses. People, if that was what they could be called beneath the rags, dirt and stench, huddled in doorways cold, lonely and shunned. The pain, loss and sorrow of their plight were indescribable. Welcome to Gehenna, table for two?

Sure my value system had taken a beating over the years, but not to that extent. Not yet, not ever – not if I had anything to do with it. He grew angry, but I stood my ground. He looked like a regular addict: skinny, dressed in rebellious conformity, hungry and in need. Yet, somehow being able to afford a meal made me the enemy. As far as I was concerned, my still being there proved I’d gone beyond the call of duty in trying to be civilized. I hadn’t said or done anything any Good Samaritan wouldn’t have done. No longer caring what he thought of me, all I saw was a broken and damaged man who’d built so many walls to keep people out he’d unwittingly walled himself in. He was just like me!

“I know a small park we can go to…”not wanting to end up a statistic in some filthy alley. ‘…Don’t wanna go to some stupid park…’ he cut in. ‘There’s too many people around.’ I bit my tongue at the hundreds of passers-by. “…If you like…?” ‘Look! I don’t like. Don’t ask me again,’ he screamed. “Okay, find a clean spot and I’ll go,” I said, resigning to play the game his way.

We walked down the alley, the bag tucked under my jacket ‘lest the fumes contaminate the goodness therein.’ Unusually silent, I noticed how he kept his distance between us. “Are you ashamed of walking with me or something?” surprised by my courage. ‘No.’ “Then why are you all the way over there?” If anything it should’ve been me keeping my distance. ’Cause I wanna be.’ “Look! The food’s yours, no strings attached. I’m not judging you or questioning your lifestyle, character or nothing, but I ain’t gonna eat with someone who doesn’t want me around, no matter what. Got it!” He looked like a deer caught in headlights.

All I was doing was trying to treat him with respect and dignity like any human being. Thinking he might be one of those irreparable people NA talked about, there was something strangely familiar about him too. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. A shadow fell and I prayed for both of us. Handing him the bag, I told him to keep my food and turned to leave. ‘No, don’t leave! I’ll find a place that’s clean,’ he screamed. “Is there one – here?” I motioned to the hellhole around. ‘Yes, I’ll find one; I mean there’s one further up.’ Expecting and wanting him to fail, I handed him the food. ‘I don’t want to eat alone!’ he screamed. Our eyes met. In his was such profound loneliness I almost cried. I smiled gently in silent recognition.

We unpacked and ate at a loading dock that amazingly was clean. Yet something still didn’t feel right. Although we ate quietly, I was trembling. A wave of energy spasmed through me. I looked up to see a hurt, damaged, shell of a man lost in a world of drugs and God only knew what else. I gasped, stopped breathing and nearly choked. I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want him to see me seeing it, but couldn’t stop it. There before the grace of God went I.

The burger, now devoid of all flavor, tumbled in my mouth like rocks in a dryer.

© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael J. Varma and The Gong Show with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements
  1. I just wanted to thank you a lot more for that amazing web site you have created here. It really is full of useful tips for those who are seriously interested in that subject, especially this very post. Your all so sweet in addition to thoughtful of others and also reading your blog posts is a great delight if you ask me. And that of a generous reward! Mary and I usually have enjoyment making use of your guidelines in what we should do in a few weeks. Our listing is a mile long and tips will certainly be put to very good use.

  2. We wish to thank you all over again for the wonderful ideas you gave Janet when preparing her post-graduate research and also, most importantly, pertaining to providing each of the ideas in a single blog post. If we had known of your web site a year ago, we may have been kept from the useless measures we were employing. Thank you very much.

  3. Great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  4. I simply wanted to thank you once more for this amazing web page you have built here. It is full of ideas for those who are genuinely interested in that subject, specifically this very post. You really are all absolutely sweet along with thoughtful of others plus reading your website posts is a fantastic delight if you ask me. And exactly what a generous surprise! Mary and I are going to have excitement making use of your ideas in what we should instead do in the near future. Our record is a kilometer long and tips will definitely be put to fine use.

  5. Just added this blog to my favorites. I enjoy reading your blogs and hope you keep them coming!

  6. Aw, this was a very nice post. In thought I want to put in writing like this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and certainly not appear to get one thing done.

  7. We wish to thank you again for the lovely ideas you gave Janet when preparing a post-graduate research and also, most importantly, pertaining to providing the many ideas in one blog post. If we had known of your site a year ago, we’d have been rescued from the needless measures we were implementing. Thanks to you.

  8. Thanks so much pertaining to giving me an update on this topic on your website. Please know that if a brand new post appears or if perhaps any improvements occur to the current publication, I would want to consider reading more and understanding how to make good use of those tactics you share. Thanks for your time and consideration of other men and women by making this web site available.

  9. This page appears to get a good ammount of visitors. How do you advertise it? It offers a nice individual twist on things. I guess having something authentic or substantial to talk about is the most important thing.

  10. Thanks so much regarding giving my family an update on this issue on your website. Please realize that if a new post becomes available or in the event any alterations occur with the current publication, I would be thinking about reading more and focusing on how to make good usage of those approaches you discuss. Thanks for your efforts and consideration of other men and women by making this web site available.

  11. Hey! awesome blog! I happen to be a daily visitor to your site (somewhat more like addict 😛 ) of this website. Just wanted to say I appreciate your blogs and am looking forward for more!

  12. I actually still can’t quite feel that I could always be one of those reading through the important recommendations found on your site. My family and I are sincerely thankful for the generosity and for providing me the chance to pursue the chosen career path. Thanks for the important information I obtained from your web site.

  13. We wish to thank you once again for the beautiful ideas you gave Jeremy when preparing her post-graduate research and, most importantly, with regard to providing all of the ideas in a single blog post. If we had known of your web page a year ago, we might have been kept from the unwanted measures we were participating in. Thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: