My God, My God, Why Have We Forsaken Each Other?

So what happens the morning after I decide not to go to Portlandia?

I’m sitting in my car in the Paterson Public Library parking lot, using this MacBook, waiting for the 9 AM opening. A woman of indeterminate age with dirty blond hair (she told me she was in her late ’40s) comes over and asks for money. I said I don’t have any (a lie). She offers to perform fellatio on me. I refuse. She had once been pretty but now looked gross: but that wasn’t the point. We ended up talking for about 20 minutes. I let her sit in the shade of my car door. I gave her a couple of cigarettes. She’d been married, had two stepchildren, actually had a place to live, but sold herself for crack and alcohol. She didn’t want money, she said, just human comfort. When she left she said I had beautiful eyes (I’ve heard that before), the key she said to a good soul–and hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.

Why does God want me here?

I reread this entry and it makes me want to weep. There is so damned much human flotsam in this horrendous city, such a waste of beauty and human dignity. It probably has been the same since the days of Rahab in Jericho. And why? That poor woman in the parking lot was reaching out not for money, not for physical evidence that someone gave a shit about her beyond some nameless guy spurting in her mouth, but for the simple comfort of feeling a hand in her hair or on the back of her neck. So then she can feel degraded again in exchange for some cigarettes or a Big Mac. Okay, most of us (me included) made some terrible choices with no one to arrest our motion, forward or backward. Combined that with plain bad luck, and we wound up where we wound up. Like Charles Foster Kane, some of us needed more than one lesson, and some of us got more than one lesson. I think she was surprised I didn’t ask anything of her. Yes, really surprised. “Cool, honey, I’ll just slide over here and you can fit your head in….” That’s when she kissed me…because I didn’t want anything from her.


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