Today reminded me of something I use to do when I was in school. We were in a corporate meeting. I’m bored out of my mind and I finished chewing the pen cap into a knotted piece of plastic. I hate crowds and I always seem to choose a seat in the right back corner area. that’s the right side if you’re facing the front.
I started doing this around the 8th grade, when my neighborhood friends decided they didn’t want me in their crowd any more. I found out I could say their name in my mind, concentrating and staring at them. It never failed, they would turn and look directly at me as I just stared them down until they looked away. Except today, I made a coworker look back at me. Instead of staring her down I raise my eyebrows and made a “what?” face. She looked away like I was a creep. It was cool I could still do that…
My first cat “Stink” was a kitten when I had his front paws declawed because of my leather furniture. They were bleeding and sore. He could barely walk and wouldn’t use his litterbox. He wouldn’t even jump up on the couch or get on the bed. One night I had just fallen asleep. I get woken up by the cat pawing my face. He’s screaming and has this distressed look. His eyes are wide open. The first thing I did was look at his paws. He just kept screaming and didn’t want me touching him. He ran and set by the front door. I just thought there was another cat outside. I was in the living room getting my thoughts together. I had this overwhelming feeling of dread. Something is happening, or about to happen. I sensed it’s my dad and his wife. They lived an hour away out in the country. I called and got the recorder, I had to get there.
It’s after 11:00 pm when I leave, I get there around midnight. The house sets back in the trees. The first thing I notice is there’s no lights on. Even the yard lights I helped install are out. I slowly turned into the gravel driveway which leads around to the back of the house. Just as I got near an old pick-up truck came racing around the house through the driveway. It comes right at me with it’s headlights at full beam. They veered around me into the yard. I could hear the tires squeal when the truck hit the road. Then they turned their lights out while they drove away. It seemed like they’ve done this before.
Pulling around the house the garage lights come on. My dad opens the overhead door. I asked if everyone was alright. He said they were in bed and all the noise woke them up. He asked me what I was doing out there that late. He didn’t believe me until I showed him the muddy tire tracks in the front yard. We found the yard lights were shot out with a BB gun. I told him about the cat pawing my face to wake me up. Dad had found Stinky as a kitten. He picked him up while they sat outside one evening. He told me Stinky had pawed his face several times while he held him. Stinky knew something was going on that night…
Cleaning up my computer parts, I decided to get rid of some. Getting pictures and descriptions took the entire afternoon. Uploading and fixing my mistakes took up the entire evening. Around 11pm my phone lets me know I have an email. We go back and forth about a graphics card and finally agree to a time. This morning he calls to tell me he’s in the parking lot. I go out to meet him. I walk up to the car and I’m thinking, no freakin’ way. It’s the friend I’ve never met guy.
Email by John G.
I grew up in a small town west of Columbus, Ohio. We made a lot of trips to Columbus for food, clothing and entertainment. It seemed I always came across the same kid everywhere we went. We crossed paths a lot growing up. Our parents even bowled in the same league. We never mentioned our unique meetings; instead we just got along like we were best friends.
For a long time we never saw each other until one night at 3C Drive-In Theatre. I was walking out of the concession stand and there he was, walking in. We shook hands and spoke for a moment. We were both there with our girlfriends and parked two cars away from each other. A few years later, around 1989, The Who held a concert in the old Cleveland Stadium. There he is again; we didn’t even know each other’s name up to this point. Once again in 1992, Genesis held a concert in Columbus at the Ohio Stadium. We met up once again walking into the stadium. At the same time, we both extended to shake hands and simultaneously said, “My name is John”. It was an eerie but funny moment. We told everyone with us about our friendship since childhood. They were all pretty freak out about it.
As I got older I needed to see the doctors more often. My family physician sent me to a specialist. I didn’t pay any attention to the name; I just followed the doctor’s instructions. In the waiting room a few weeks later, I fill out the forms and get called in. The nurse took my vitals and all of my information. I sat on the table waiting. Who walks in? My old friend John! He’s now a Doctor. All we could do was laugh at how our lives have intermingled. We were both married and have 3 children. We both drive white cars, and the list goes on about how identical our lives have been. This was the last time I saw him. I leave his office, as I start up the car what’s on the radio? The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again …
I have a friend, I’ll call Grace. She’s a very beautiful young lady. She has a free spirit and a charm that draws you towards her. Our brief, eight hour interaction, left an impression on me. She made a mistake and is now hooked on heroin. I don’t know any thing about it. I only know what I’m told by others. She is so far into it she doesn’t want help. She knows all the vacant homes in the bad part of town. She sleeps and eats in them, among other things. This beautiful human being could be the most awesome wife, friend and mother. Heroin has no boundaries. I feel honored just to have met her.
The last time i saw her was at the end of last winter. It was still cold out, in the 30’s. I saw a frail girl standing under the Central Avenue bridge. I glanced over and knew it was Grace. She looked tired and cold wearing only a light hoodie. I often wonder about her. Today (6 months later), out of no where, I get the feeling Grace died. At the end of the day I was helping my friend I met Grace through. All the sudden she says: “I found Grace, she came home with us. She took a shower and…”
She’s safe for now.