My name is Joe and I’m a…. I’m not sure what I am. I can tell you what I used to be. I was just a guy who wanted to get along. I was just a guy who wanted to do in life what he had to do. I had a wife and a couple kids a really good job and everything was going ok you know. Sure there were some problems in my marriage and it seems as though the last few years I have been getting some bad breaks at work; mostly with asshole bosses but on the whole everything was okay. I enjoyed going for a few after work with the boys and having a laugh. Is that too much to expect? A little pleasure in an otherwise boring and practical existence! I work hard and I provide and all I ever wanted was a little space to unwind at the end of the day. All I ever wanted was to be left alone. Well, I guess I got that last part. I am alone.
I am staying at this guys place at the moment because my wife has lost her mind. She has pretty much always lived on the edge of two worlds but now, now she has stepped completely over into the abyss. I blame those wack jobs she has been talking too, the ones who are telling her she needs to kick my ass out. The ones who say some crazy shit about detaching with love. Well I can tell you that I was not feeling a whole lot of love in the room when I was detached. She tells me that I crossed a line. She says she can’t deal with the uncertainty I bring into her world. I guess she means the uncertainty that comes with every pay cheque I bring home, every bag of groceries my money provides, every gallon of gas she puts in the car, I PAID FOR, while she is shopping for her spring wardrobe! She also says she is sick of my sarcasm and my anger. She may have a point there, about the anger I mean.
I told her she would be angry too is she were me. If she had a boss who did not appreciate her or for that matter a wife who didn’t! If everyone on earth depended upon her for their existence she may take a drink once in a while as well. But she did not buy any of that, even though it is the truth. She only uses the truth to hurt me and to blame me because she is jealous of my life. I have friends and people who like me and respect me! I am going places in my life I can tell you that for sure! This thing at work, just a temporary set back, just some bad luck with a bad boss I know it will blow over after the suspension. Anyone would drink for a couple days after the week I had. I told her I didn’t see any line let alone cross over any but she kicked my ass out anyway, typical.
I’m lucky I got to know this guy at work Bill. Well I don’t really know him all that well. He only comes into the bar with the guys once in a while and never stays too long. A real up and comer you know what I mean. Kind of a dick really but he told me I could crash at his place while he was out of the country. I was kind of surprised that he was so concerned to be honest. He has probably been screwed over by a wife as well. Maybe he is not such as dick head after all is said and done. But none of this really matters! This is not about me it is about the call. It is about the guy on the other end of the line.
You don’t know me and I doubt we will ever meet. I’m not even sure why I am writing this down. When I awoke this morning and realized that the bits and pieces of what I was remembering was not a dream but an actual event I felt compelled to put pen to paper and relate what I could remember of it to the best of my ability.
As I have said, I am uncertain why I need to record the event, for I did not know the man. The fact is we had never met and I spoke to him only the one time, quite by chance or fate, if I am to believe in such things. Since that night I have come to understand events occur for a reason; building blocks in the plan of some greater power or higher intelligence; steps on a path to the end of a journey. But I am not so sure. Perhaps there is nothing more than fate, blind luck, and happenstance. That is what this feels like. As I have said, I am uncertain.
Yesterday when I awoke, I felt I knew who I was and where I fit. This morning the parameters are not as clear, and I question if perhaps I have been living outside the lines. I don’t know whom I am writing this for or if it will ever be read by anyone but me.
Perhaps I am not writing it for him, as he asked, but instead for me, so I can understand, at least in part, what happened to him. I spoke to him less than an hour, on the phone. I did not know where he was or even if he was in the same city as I. I only know I was to be the last call. He was 52 years old and he told me the story, of his life. Fifty-two years summed up in less than an hour. How could that be? How could one man, given the same opportunities as another, end up so alone and in less than an hour, equate his life to fifty cents in a pay phone. It has left me cold; it has left me frightened; and it has left me uncertain.
And so I write. For you, for me, for him, for anyone who’s life adds up to more than fifty cents. He wanted to cleanse himself, and in so doing he has stained me. Colored me with doubt and uncertainty; made me question my self and my way of life; helped me to understand there is so much more, to everything.
I do not know if I was able to help him, I doubt it because I never really tried, but I know that he has helped me, and for that reason I will tell the story