Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Wrong Side

Last night,

I found myself in a hell-hole of a town in West Virginia.
I'd fought the mountains, the rain, and myself all day, I badly needed a walk along some tracks. And as usual, they were there.

But as I started walking south, I glanced back over my shoulder.

There, across the ditch, across the four lanes of heavy traffic, over the median, was a young man working the off- ramp for change. Just he and the dog.
From the distance I guessed him to be Native American, maybe Chinese, maybe Mexican, who knows. He was hatted low and bundled deep against the gray cold and he, just too much of a worn out shadow to tell for certain.
But the dog was a tiny poodle-like creature on a leash. They both were mostly ignored and I turned back to the tracks.
Later, as i returned down the tracks, I noticed him across the expanse walking in the direction I now returned from. Our eyes met briefly and I watched him gingerly guide the frail dogs trot.

I wish I had been on his side, not for his sake but for mine. I wish i could've blown him a twenty along with a kiss across the highway. But the fuckin fords on their fuckin way to fuckin monday night football and PTA meetings and fat suppers would've trampled both.

So it was just the eyes.

I wish i had taken him to my truck so that we might've sat cross-legged on the bed while he told me his story, maybe share a beer, maybe laughed.
I wouldn't have asked him where he was going, that question is never fair.
Then maybe we'd lean back against opposing walls and talk of the dog's story as he rubbed its trusting neck. The dog, this dog, is perhaps the only friend who never betrayed him.

But I didn't-we didn't.

See, I was going this way, and he that way, and on opposite sides and all and then all them fucking fords keeping fucking schedules, and, well, we just didn't.
I slept in a warm bed with a full belly and a pocket full of useless coin. I don't know where they slept. I didn't earn the right.

But I have some hopes; I hope he keeps the dog and the dog him. I hope he makes another friend. I hope someone misses him. I hope there's a love for him somewhere.
I also hope he doesn't wish for more than he and the dog need. That would be tragic. He'd become just another pissed off ford late for american idol.
Or maybe a lost trucker with money who's only comfort is an empty rail road track on the wrong side of the fords.

He has the dog, he's better off than he knows. and the ford will come soon enough and he'll miss the dog.