the pink bed

Schoolhouse Electric
July 2011

Can you imagine what it feels like not to be welcome in your own home, your refuge, your territory?  You are an enemy of the state.  A traitor. A literal outcast.

Visiting the home that's no longer yours feels even worse than overstaying a visit with agitated relatives.  Every step you take, despised.  Not sure if you can touch anything or sit on the sofa.  Even the oxygen you naturally pull into your lungs is stolen.

As many evenings as I would allow, Mr. Scabs would come.  On his knees. Pleading for a chance.  Through red eyes and a swollen throat, promising, begging to rebuild all he had destroyed.   We both know destruction is an infinity easier than creation.  Besides, it's not me who gives chances.  It's him who takes the chance.

There were even a few moments of the ugly cry.  But, they fell on a closed heart.

Mr. Scabs put himself in a pathetic position.

Pushing himself up from his knees, he watches me for any warmth.  There isn't any.  There is no reaction at all.  I do not know this man.

Like a homeless man, he fills his laundry with more things.  Peeking in at his sleeping children, his face filled with pain.  Pain I'm sure I could sooth with a touch, a kind word, a genuine hug.  I don't have it.

Before he closes the door, he whispers:

"I love you.  I'm sorry.  Good-night."

Out the window I watch his sad, sunken shadow walk the grassy path to his truck, which is now partly his new home.  Strewn about with Jack in the Box taco wrappers, t-shirts and a toothbrush with crusty Colgate residue.  How does it feel to have no home?

It's midnight and he drives 40 minutes to the house with the pink bed. The pink bed is in a room, which is part of a house, which is owned by a guy who works for Mr. Scabs.

He's a stranger in this house too.

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