In a chilly fog at 3:20 am I met Addison as I was lost in a seedy neighborhood of Oakland.
Driving home from work as I like it, a favorite drum piece came on. Thoughts followed by images and even dreams of those images. What if there was a cure for little Rose’s trauma, my mind felt heavy. The frightened look in her big hazel eyes when the wild looking stepdad signed her off from the ward. The bitter irony of him being allowed to “release” the bruised girl, on and on… I don’t exactly know how within not a long distance between work and home, I ended up in that part of Oakland. But I did. Especially when I realized how low on gas I was. No way I could make it to the other side of the bridge, I decided. So passing through a moment of panic, I shook myself into a different reality. I was possibly stranded in a very cold dark spot. Suddenly I felt how badly I needed an open gas station, at least one that took ATM cards.
After desperately driving what seemed to be a main highway, I saw a 7Eleven. What Relief. At least he will tell me how to reach a gas station. About 1-1/2 miles after two turns? Not bad. So I celebrated my relief by buying a pack of pistachios and a bazooka gum. Thanked the helpful black puffy eyes behind the counter as I walked out to my car.
I heard his deep voice before I saw his eyes. “gimme yo fuckin moneyt!”
My heart stopped! The words came out nonetheless… Can’t do that, I said… you see man, I got no money or gas.
“whaa?! you fuckin moran or what?! gimme the car keys!”, sounding almost nothing close to his 6’4″ of lean muscle covered by the shiny orange Oakland A’s jacket.
I found his eyes. That gave me the courage to be alert to his needs. At that moment?
Black beauty, some trace of Asperger’s and alchohol?
Listen, I said, can we sit down on this curb for a sec? I just got off work, got no gas, it’s freezing out here and you’re threatening me? For What?! Besides, what are You doing so late out here? Don’t you have a girlfriend or someone to go to in this cold fog? Hmmm, wait here, need to grab my coat out of my car, Ok?…
Fuck No!, he screeched. Zipped down his jacket to flash the shiny black gun. This was my second time facing a gun so up close. It looked real. Were my frightened eyes to him? Can the man inside the store see me? Would he even care if another stupid soul out there is being mugged?
No time for judgmental inquiries.
Listen man, my name’s Monda, I’m tired and freezing out here, don’t be surprised if I threw up on you alright?… what’s your name? A car passed by. He totally jerked around, who that? I have an idea, I said.
By the way my name is Monda, what’s yours? He didn’t reach for that gun, just stared at me, Without really seeing me. His pupils were moving side to side, in that dark, with the faint store neon sign I checked him out more closely. “What kinda name is that?”
Iranian, he didn’t get me … What’s yours? Ok don’t tell me, I need my coat out of the car.
“Gimme the car keys bitch”.
C’mon man don’t call me a bitch, please? My name is Monda. I need my coat out of the car. I have 6 bucks in my back pocket and some pistachios. When was the last time you had food? You must be thirsty and hungry, right? Can we sit down right here? When I get scared I throw up, do you understand?
I sat down on the curb, facing the street to the right of the store. C’mon man sit down, I can’t look up, you’re so tall.
The probability of conveying to him my need for the coat was non-existent.
Do you like pistachios? You’re not allergic to nuts are you? My shaking words were directed by the steam, out of my mouth. I really think you should eat something. I can feel what’s happening to you right now. Why would you mix speed with alcohol man?
He was still fidgeting in place, scanning the road. He had not spoken a word to me for a couple of minutes. Clear sign of trust. If he knew it. There was no way I would risk losing his trust, by questioning it, no matter how silently.
I had to stick my numb hands in the front pockets. Which only then I realized I still had some lavender flowers on me.
Listen, have you ever had lavender?
Wanna smell some?
Getting up, I offered him my right palm with the lavenders from my back yard.
(to be continued, maybe)