so monday night i had just pulled into my driveway while i was talking to a friend on the phone (speakerphone…you best believe it) and i was telling her about some weekend hijinks when suddenly this kid smoking a cigarette appears out of nowhere knocking on my window. he looks about roughly out of high school, with deep olive eyes, dark hair and a friendly demeanor. i roll down the window a little bit. “i’m sorry to scare you,” he says “but i’m s$#%faced as hell, and i just lost my mom and my girlfriend and i don’t know where to go.”
well that scared the pete’s sakes out of me, but i didn’t really know what to say at that point so i said “go sit on the porch stairs. we’ll talk.” he looks at me, as if sizing me up, and i say “go on, i’ll just be a minute.” so i tell my friend i’m going to have to call her back, and i go sit on the stairs with this kid, as if nothing is out of the ordinary, gently trying to eke out some truth from him.
well, apparently his mother has had mental problems for awhile, and finally he moved down here from way up north to live with his grandparents, but then his girlfriend recently dumped him and she’s the only girl he’s ever really loved. he’s only 18, he’s a musician (mostly hard rock/metal — he’s wearing a metallica t-shirt), he’s quite drunk and he just wants some company. “come back to my house,” he says, “i want to play my guitar for you.” well, i decide mentally, i should walk him home.
that’s how at 1 in the morning i found myself sitting in downtown suburbia (we had to detour to get him more cigarettes) discussing politics with an 18 year old drunken stranger as he chainsmoked a pack. he tells me about his various fights, and about how he’s a nice guy as long as you don’t cross him. he made me listen to some songs on his discman. we both figured out we are fans of cds more than mp3s. he’s had a tough life, but he’s incredibly smart. he had all kinds of opinions on everything from george w. bush to the wars in iraq and vietnam to the political system and how it shuts out a good chunk of the populace. i didn’t even want to say anything. i try to ask him about the girl, but he doesn’t want to talk about that. it hurts too much. mostly i just liked to hear him talk.
but i was sick and cold. and he couldn’t believe i was 24. nor did he understand why i wouldn’t drink anything (sick, man, i’m sick!) and though he really wanted me to come hear him play guitar, i took down his number, and said i’d give him a call and we’d hang out later. he said “i can’t believe i just met you. what if it’s fate? i mean, of all the houses, of all the driveways in the neighborhood, i walked up to yours just because i didn’t give a
f*(& and i found you. i didn’t even know you’d be there.”
it was pretty surreal. but i wasn’t even sure if it had actually happened or not except in the morning when i saw my sandals caked in mud from the midnight foray.