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They Call Me Red

……

 

11 May 2013

Four Months Sober 

On my way to the park this afternoon I saw Loretta, she was sitting on a low wall near the bus stop. “Hi, Dennis,” she called.

“Hi Loretta, I haven’t seen you for a long time.”

“It has been a long time. Did I tell you that I finished a four-month program? I’ve been over four months sober now. At the program I told them I was only there because of my addiction to alcohol, I didn’t want to give up weed. I never want to stop smoking weed. I need something to help me relax. I did buy some patches though. I want to stop smoking cigarettes.”

“Congratulations, that’s an amazing achievement. I know that addictions are very difficult to control. I’m proud of you. Don’t try to take on too much at once. Take things one step at a time.

“Andre only lasted two months and look where he is now.”

“I know, that business with Joy. It’s such a shame. I like her, she’s been a friend for a long time. She didn’t deserve that. Nobody does.”

“My heart goes out to Joy and to Andre. They’ve both been my friends for years. Now, Andre has thrown away everything that he worked so hard for. He spent his rent money on booze, so he may get kicked out of his apartment. Everybody wants to punch him out. He probably won’t be able to stay in the city. It won’t be safe for him anywhere.

“Is there anybody in the park?”

“Yes, but I don’t want to go there because I know that people will be drinking. I really want a drink right now. I’m just waiting for the bus. I’m planning to go to school.”

“What will you be taking?”

“First, I have to finish my Grade Twelve, then I want to go to Secretarial School.”

“That’s a good choice. Where I work they’re always looking for Secretaries.”

“I see my bus coming. It was good to see you, Dennis.”

“Bye, Loretta.”

I walked up the sidewalk to the park and sat beside Jacques. “How are you feeling, Jacques?”

“Oh me? I feel fine. My body is healthy. When people see me they think I’m big and strong, but it’s like a car. The body can be good, but the motor is shot. My heart is in bad shape. People don’t know I’m dying, but I am. I tell them, but they don’t believe it.

“I’ve been shitting water for the past three days. I don’t know what that’s about. Maybe I picked up some kind of bug. I don’t know”

Jake came wandering up the sidewalk. Debbie said, “Well, let’s not all look at him.”

Jacques said, “That’s what we do. Where are we supposed to look.”

“I guess you’re right, I shouldn’t be telling everybody else what to do, or how to act. It’s just the way I am; you know that.

“Has anybody got a joint? How about rolling papers? I got pot if somebody’s got papers.”

“You can use my pipe,” said Jacques. “I’ll fill it fresh.”

As Jake approached Debbie he said, ” Come here, I need a hug.”

Debbie took him in her arms and he started crying.

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