Holiday

  The excitement of travelers,the lights,the people standing in balcony areas of bars and restaurants,the light traffic on and outside the bus…It’s nice.There is no rush.There is no tension.There were no swears thrown at me today.
  I got a Christmas present from one of my passengers.He is trying to quit meth.He is younger than me,late 20’s or early 30’s.I am 38.He is covered in tattoos,but that is not what makes it apparent he is a meth addict.It’s his jumping around,his spitfire way of holding a conversation.His words are all over the place,so that the conversation usually changes mid sentence.I have always had a soft spot for him.He has never really intentionally made a problem for me.Often times when he boards it’s like a tornado just showed me a bus pass and before I know it,he’s running across the street to whatever craziness awaits his day.He gave me a puzzle with elephants on it.Still in the plastic wrapping…
  A few weeks before he boarded my bus and did not look good.He was coughing really hard and looked thinner then usual.He talked slower.He told me he had pneumonia.He actually layed in one place the whole time.When I got to the end he asked me in a pleading way if he could stay on the bus.I looked at him and knew he was not well.We talked for a bit and it was strange actually being able to understand him.
  He told me he’s been clean for over a month. He was in the far back of the bus,legs stretched out and curled up by the window in the corner,with his hood over his head.To avoid using he was sleeping on the streets,being away from his cohorts.He was not allowed home.Already sick,being on the street brought on the pneumonia.I felt for him.I don’t like seeing people suffer…but I don’t like being a doormat either,so I don’t always offer help.
  Seeing him like this really bothered me.I’ve never seen him so….still.I asked if he’d been to the doctor and if he’s taking anti-biotics.He told me he went to the doctor,but he didn’t have enough for anti-biotics,and his parents wouldn’t give him money.I understood both sides…but honestly understood his parents’ side more.
   Still,I could see he was sick and I gave him money to get the anti-biotics.I took a chance.Part of me wondered if I was giving to a lost cause,if he’d choose meth to ease his pain temporarily.Part of me believed he’d spend it on the meds.The part of me that believed he’d spend it on the meds won.I gave him the money.If I saw him anytime soon I’d find out what he did.
  The next day came and he was waiting for me at Downing street.He knew when I’d be there.He was savvy enough to know it was my set schedule as an individual and that I did this Monday through Friday,and I’d be there at that time.He jumped on the bus in this wild frenzy.I could still understand what he was saying.I could tell he was just excited.He pulled the anti-biotics out of his backpack.He showed me it was that day’s date.I wouldn’t have asked him to prove he got the anti-biotics,I knew I was taking a chance,but that was on me,not him…Still,he stood there in front of everyone telling me he spent my money on anti-biotics and not drugs,really excited and proud of himself.In a way I felt proud of him too…
   So he gets on a few weeks later and he is waiting for me.He is holding the puzzle.He looks happy.He only rides to the next stop,to only give me the present.He is all happy and looks a hundred percent better.I feel happy.Not because I helped him,nor because he spent the money on much needed meds…but because he looked happy.Genuinely happy…that was present enough.As he handed me the puzzle and told me Merry Christmas,he told me how he had a phone that got stolen,while he was passed out at a McDonald’s,but it was ok because he had stolen it in the first place…I couldn’t help but feel for him and all that he’s going through,as self inflicted as it may be,I could see the human in him trying to come out and do the right thing…
  Merry Christmas to him.Merry Christmas to all who have nothing.Merry Christmas to all who have everything or who are making do like me and my wife,Merry Christmas to everyone.Merry Christmas and God bless everyone.We all are just trying to get by…

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