8 October 2015

I was walking along a crowded sidewalk when I heard, “Dennis, down here.”

Mandy stood up from the curb and gave me a hug. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a meal card and handed it to her. She misunderstood and said, “Okay we’ll shake hands too. Oh, You’re giving me a coffee card. Thank you, I can use that.”

“How have you been?” I asked.

“You know, same old same old. My mom got her own place, finally. It’s about four blocks from here. We’re both so happy about it.”

“Do you have a place to stay now?”

“Yeah, I’ve been in the same place for four years. It’s a rooming house, costs me $450 a month. After I pay my rent there isn’t much left for groceries, or to feed my addictions.

“Did you near that Nick’s was hospital.”

I asked, “Is it because of his diabetes?”

“Yeah, he started drinking beer again. There is too much sugar in it. He went into diabetic coma. He’s out now, but not feeling too well.”

“That’s a shame. I saw him less than two weeks ago. He looked great. He gave me the impression that he was off drinking completely. He looked healthy and happy, although he did say that he’d had a couple of heart attacks.”

“Dennis, you’ve let your hair grow long. Why is that?” She reached up and touched my hair. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to mess your hair.”

“That’s okay, it can’t get messed up. Having it long is really low maintenance. I don’t brush it, comb it or even bother drying it some days. If it gets in my eyes I run my fingers through it and that’s it.

“The reason I let it grow was because I had Meningitis last February. The doctor shaved both sides of my head to perform temporal biopsies. They took two sections of blood vessels out to examine them under a microscope. I have two one inch scars at my temples, but they aren’t noticeable now.”

“Oh, I thought that maybe your hair was thinning.”

“No,” I bent over to expose the crown of my head, “my barber says that I’ll never go bald. He says that he should charge me extra for the volume of hair I have. Many of his clients my age are bald, or close to it.”

Mandy removed her cap, “See what I’ve done to my hair?” She had a buzz cut. I touched her hair. It felt like a brush, reminded me of when I used to wear my hair that way.

“It’s nice,” I said, “it suits you.”

“I’ll let it grow out over winter then get it cut off again. One haircut a year, that’s all I need.”

“Take care, Mandy.”



Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS


  1. C. T. says:

    I admire the way you write about things that would normally make people cringe, or feel bad, with a tone that turns them into what they are: part of life, normality. Reading your posts makes you feel exactly the same strange composition of caring and being deeply touched, and ignorance: “well it’s no big deal really”, that one often feels when confronted with any kind of problem not “directly” influencing oneself. Making everything sound so normal brings out the feeling of, see, things are fine! wich so many people use to calm their conscience and would never admit to feeling.


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