Segment 26: When a THird World Came West

I took Sam the next day to Our Daily Bread which was the homeless shelter located on Central Avenue parallel to Orange Avenue and kitty corner to the Bob Carr Theater on West Livingston street and across from the Omni Hotel where my uncle had had his wedding.  I held onto the steering wheel of my Volkswagen and promised him that if he slept here everynight that I’d get him or buy him dinner and bring him lunch anyway I could and I gave him all the best blankets we had, the two chenille ones that were blueberry and raspberry colored, and he took them with him.  So I drove almost aimlessly home in my brown pantsuit feeling I’d done the right thing anyway after I’d applied at Lynx, the city busline, waiting to hear back.  And I drove home passed the building where I used to see my old psychiatrist who’d tested me for ADHD,  then Mead Gardens, passed the law office of my father’s best friend whom I’d worked and slipped up at it, for.  And then I drove past more places like the streets that lead down to my high school where I’d slipped up on my grades to write in the back of the room during boring classes like oceanography where we’d watched Jack Cousteau films over and over.  Then I rode past the Firestone where I went one time after I’d had a flat tire driving too fast when I was late too school one day as a senior in the morning.  After I’d kept coming across all these places with these kinds of memories  I turned down Winter Park Road to get a better perspective, hoping that I’d drive past something that I remembered where a good memory came to my mind.  But there were the rich Spanish missionary houses of the families I’d babysat for from whom I’d ate leftovers out of fridges, talked all night from their phones to guys and girlfriends.  At a stoplight I hit my head against the back of my seat and felt down.  I didn’t want to look around at the intersection I was at because I didn’t want to see say, the lawyer dad of one of the girls I’d babysat for driving home at rush hour who’d look back and see me, his babysitter, who’d messed up.  I felt like I was gonna sit here in this city my whole life and just see the same people I saw stare back and think “What has she come to…”  And then right off I regretted leaving Elon even though I’d told myself I wouldn’t, that I wouldn’t look back and feel bad becauseI’d promised Sam the same thing except now I did.  I was supposed to have moved up out, away and North Carolina was the first step to doing all that but how’d I get back here, the place that reminded me of where I’d slipped over and over again; I couldn’t get away from myself.The light turned green and I sped up keeping my eyes only on the red sedan in front of me with the lisence plate from Georgia because I didn’t want to see anything out of my peripheral vision but I still couldn’t keep thoughts from swimming around that the person in front probably finished college all from the same place, that their parents were proud of them, that they probably had a watch and made the honor roll in high school for being on time and for perfect attendance. At the last stoplight before my street I concluded that the probability of every car in front of me had or would never bring back and forth breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a relationship to an outcast homeless shelter everyday and I suddenly felt hot, grimy, and tired in my stiff clothes keeping my mind on a shower and a big bar of soap above everything else there was to do and sort out ahead of me.

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