So, I get off work and sit in front of my station waiting for my wife to pick me up. To take my mind off the day, I turn on my Bose Speaker and let some Neo and Classic Soul drown out the negativity. As I sat on the planter,I saw what I thought was a discarded green sleeping bag that was balled up on the steps next to me. I became distracted by a woman who was walking back and forth in front of the station pulling her hair and cursing.
As she passed me I noticed that she was bleeding heavily from her skirt. She was pacing but would not leave far from our station as if somewhere in her mind she knew if she walked away too far, her crisis could get her harmed. I was about to get up to go grab some sanitary items for her, when she saw me stand, she freaked out and walked briskly to the corner cursing and yelling at the top of her lunch to every man she saw. It was clear that a man may have been the catalyst for her emotional trauma. Her voice seemed to be all that she had to lash out at the representation of whoever harmed her.
She did not remember the three weeks before when I gave her shoes. As I sat down, the green mound on the steps moved. A long pair of legs grew from it, then a hand popped out. A gravely voice moaned from underneath. My music stirred him. He didn’t seem to be happy about it. His right hand pulled down the covering from his face. His eyes glared in disappointment that the sun was shining on him. A cruel reminder to him that he was still alive in his own personal hell.
I stood up to see if he was ok He wasn’t. His forehead was split open. Streaks of dried blood tattooed his face. I then heard a scream. A Sista to my left caught the same spirit that gripped the other woman as she began cursing at cars that passed by. Every car felt her wrath, she laughed as in her mind she caused the cars to crash. As I’m watching herI put my finger to my lips as if to tell a traumatized child not to be afraid of the dark.
I pointed to my speaker and she calmed down and began rocking to the music, then singing off key to the Whispers “Lost and Turned Out.” One fire was put out, but the first fire was returning to me. Bleeding worse than before, I tried to get her to look at me with hopes she would remember the big man who gave her oversized kicks to keep her feet from walking on contaminated rain water, that washed away weeks of urine. Maybe if she remembered me she would let me help her again. Our eyes never met, and she became more agitated as she walked past me.
Another homeless woman approached and as she crossed my path, the Commodores “Zoom” came on. She stopped, removed her hoodie and her hips began to sway. A smile crossed her face from ear to ear. Her eye closed so she could feel old memories the song brought back of better days. My wife pulls up in front of the station and I grab my bag to put in my truck. My wife is chuckling at me and the sight of joy coming from a homeless woman who was still rocking rhythmically to a song that was now enclosed in my ride and inaudible. “Why do these things only happen to you?” My wife asked.
As I go to the driver side, I couldn’t leave the man in the sleeping bag without knowing he was ok. “Hold up babe. I gotta check on this cat.” I walked up to him and asked if I could help him. He looked at me and mumbled “no, I’m fine. I just want to sleep.” I asked him again if he needed medical help. He covered his face again “I’m fine. Please go away.”
It was 1997 all over again. Defeated, I got in my car and drove away as quickly as I could in the congested streets of DTLA. Believing the further I got, the better I would feel. I was wrong. As I arrived at Olympic and Grand, a completely nude woman waled calmly through an intersection. Stunned at the sight, I pulled over south of her. I checked my bag for a large shirt to give her. Before I could find one my wife advised that the woman was putting on a shirt she found on the ground. She walked away yelling for everyone to leave her alone. I closed my door and gripped my steering wheel frustrated at the same channel playing in every block. My wife touches my clutched hand and said “Honey, I don’t know how you did this for so long.”
I have 8 years to go. I pray this is solved at some point before I am gone.