The man slowly slouches into the room; he is distracted and distraught. His jeans are thin and faded with a rip across his left thigh. He wears yellowed tennis shoes, each with a cracking sole that threatens to separate from the rest of the shoe. I want to give him a tube of superglue, help him to put things back together. It’s clear what is going to happen, sooner or later.
Then I remember, they aren’t my shoes and it isn’t my walk. This isn’t what he wants.
He begins to speak and I am a thousand miles away, considering the distance between us. We are the same age, babies of the 80’s. Yet, we are so different.
At his hip, he carries a Bowie knife. I carry a tube of chapstick.
At night, he dreams about a noose made out of razor blades. I dream about an early retirement.
Tears well and begin to slide down his face. His voice cracks as he tries to explain what is inside of his head. He is haunted and I am a simple witness to his suffering, helpless to ease his pain.
Simply a witness.