Wednesday, December 27, 2006
A blind man told me.
It’s a blind man that told me.
He told me he was going to rob a bank.
Here I am sittin on bench in Venice beach, California.
Trodden and dirty this blind man about forty walks up to me. As if he could really see. As if for some reason a rope was leading him to me.
He sat next to me. More like plopped down.
He’s a thin white man.
Short grey hair.
Long beard. Sunglasses covering his eyes.
Lines of age criss crossing his face like a road map of life.
“Mind if I sit here”
His voice was cracking.
I looked up from my notebook and said.
“No go ahead.”
I noticed he was blind by his cane.
A long white cane with two red marks at the end.
The cane let off a series of tones telling the man information on distance.
I moved over a bit to give him some room.
“I’m gonna do it”
I looked up to him again.
“Excuse me.” I answer carefully.
“I’m gonna do it.” He drawls then coughs.
“I’m gonna rob that cocksuckin bank.”
Humm..I almost let out a small chuckle.
But I could tell this blind stranger was serious.
“Why would you do that…?”
“Huh…To get cash…”
“Right..” I felt a bit stupid for asking that question.
“Well…that’s not a good idea…”
“Who asked you?”
I went back to my notebook not answering the man.
“You know my wife died.”
I tried to pretend I didn’t hear him.
“I’m sorry to hear that”
“She’s buried on a hill.”
Lots of flowers and a huge oak tree shade her grave.
Some skate boarders zoom by.
A blonde with a thong bikini rolls by on some blades.
“I used to be an actor.” He says.
“Oh yeah. That was before when I could see.”
“Sorry for what.” He barks at me.
I get back to my reading.
“Never mind what?” He pushes.
“Look. I’m trying to write here…I mean all you’ve done is act rude…”
“Sorry bout that.”
“You know my wife died.”
“So you said…I’m sorry.”
“I’m 56 years old. I used to be an actor.”
“I have a son somewhere.”
“Have I seen you in anything?”
“TV movies. Would I have seen you in anything?”
“Maybe. You ever watch Adam 12.”
“The cop show from the seventies?”
“Yeah that’s the one.”
“I was a suspect in that and a few other cop shows.”
“It was work.”
“And now…look at me.”.
“You know there are lots of blind people who live normal lives…”
“Are you preaching to me?”
“No I’m just…”
“I was on Broadway.”
“So are you going to look for your son?”
“Yep. I have a lot of catchin up to do. Thirty years worth.” He hangs his head down.
“I walked out.” He looks up.
“We lived in a trailer at the time.”
I looked closer at the strangers face.
His eyes. His jaw line. His hands.
I put my book down.
“My father walked out on my family when I was young.” I say.
My stomach began to turn.
“My wife died. I remember the first time I saw her. She was so beautiful…she was so beautiful that grey skies would clear up and turn into sunny days.”
“Sounds like a movie.” I smile.
“Where was this trailer park?”
“Ohhh it was around Long Beach.” He looks away.
I stood up.
It was as if I was slapped.
How could this be happening?
“Okay…stop the shit who are you?”
“Just a guy.”
I look around almost expecting some kind of hidden TV show camera to come popping out.
“Are you really blind?”
“Who are you?”
“Who did you think I am?”
“I don’t know. Some crazy guy.”
“Are you?” I stop myself.
Some things in life you can’t explain.
A bird shitting on you.
Being hit by lighting.
I guess some things happen for a reason.
If you believe in that kind of stuff.
Was this man standing in front of me my father?
He told me that he had been coming to this bench the same time for four years. Telling his story over and over.
He told his tale to anyone.
Anyone who would listen.
He said he was going to do it until one day he would find his son.
One day he would find his son and try and mend all the heartache he caused.
In his mind he thought that finding his son would somehow fill a void.
A very dark void in himself.
He thought that reason would come back to his life.
He knew what a monster he was when his son was a boy.
He knew the abuse he caused probably left an emotional scar on his son.
He knew that in those days when he drank he forgot who he was.
He forgot everything.
Until one day he forgot the one thing that was dearest to his heart.
He refused the love and blocked out the pain he caused.
And instead. He Ran.
He ran to forget his past.
To forget his life.
To forget who he was.
He went to Mexico.
He met a woman and married her.
They went to Texas.
Only this time his new wife became very ill and died.
After her death he became ill and started to lose his sight.
He was alone. Alone with himself.
He decided to find his son.
He contacted family who all thought he was dead.
They told him his son lived by the ocean in California.
That he was happy and had his own family.
They told him that he never talked about his father.
And that to him his father was dead.
That was four years ago.
From then on he came to this bench everyday.
And as crazy as it sounds.
Everyday he told his stories in hopes to find his son.
Hoping to one day make that connection.
Perhaps on this day.
He found him.