Whoa. People are just bursting into flames in public around me….
The other night as I was leaving the Buy Low food store at the little mall near my place, there was a couple coming out of the liquor store. The woman was slight, pretty, in her forties, looked like, Aboriginal. Up close you could see a scar on her cheek. The man was big, had glasses, a handsome face just slightly showing dissipation. Aboriginal. She was out first, chatting to some guy, It looked as though they had just met. Then the big man, he came tearing down the sidewalk just out of the entrance of the mall, screaming at her, “Let’s go, bitch, we gotta go! C’mon!”. She said, “I’m comin’, I’m comin’”. As she passed me, I caught her eye. “you don’t have to go with him, you know” she said, “I know”. Then he passed me, and I said, “hey, buddy, you can’t talk to people like that”. “you don’t know her, bitch, shut the fuck up, get out of my business”.
This is my business. No one deserves that. Why are you yelling? Do you like that?
I followed them. They had crossed the street and gone into a park, but I followed the mans voice. He yelled and yelled at her. Then I saw her coming toward me on the street. I followed her, I said, “does he know where you live?” “yea.” She said, “I’m gonna get on a bus and go downtown. Tell me where he is”
“he’s still in the park” I said, and watched. He lurched out of the darkness all anger and grief and came toward me. I watched her go, and kept an eye till she faded away along the sidewalk. Then I turned back to him. He was closer and I was afraid. I wondered if I would have to fight. I wondered if he would hit me and break my glasses. His face was like a roadmap to rage. His glasses were smudged. I said, “hey, man, there’s no call to be talking to her like that”.
“You don’t know her. She’s my wife! She talks to ME like that”
“Well, you don’t like it, do you? So why continue it? If you’re married, you must have loved her once, remember?”
He didn’t hear me. He was busy yelling at me to mind my business, to tell me where she was, to fuck right off. I said, “you know you don’t like it when someone talks to you with such disrespect, why are you so afraid?”
I was on my bike, keeping pace with him as he walked down the street looking this way and that for his wife. He said, “leave me alone. Where did she go?”
“I don’t know”
“you do SO, you were talking to her!”
“Look, I wouldn’t go with you if you talked to me like that.”
“Listen! My Mom died last night…”
“Oh man, I’m so sorry”
and I was. Am. Sorry. That explains a couple things. Not condones. Explains.
So. I looked down the street. The woman had vanished. He kept talking, yelling a little less, I don’t think he heard me tell him I was sorry that his mom had died. I don’t think he heard me at all. But then again, He didn’t tell me to get the fuck out of his business so much. And I just rode my bike all slow and easy beside him and talked quiet. “You know you don’t like it when someone yells so harsh and mean to you”
“she talks like that to me. You don’t know her. She’s my wife” he said again.
“no. I don’t know her. But I know no one deserves to be spoken to that way. Not her, not you. You can stop, you know. You can remember you deserve better, and so does she.”
He gave up looking for her and turned around. “just go away,” he said, “ride away and get out of my business.”
“I hope you find some peace, man, and get some lovin’ so you can give some.”
He talked over me, all the way down the block, I heard him, “Get the fuck outta my business”.