August 7, 2010
At night, I flip on a light switch, and I walk, eyes barely open, to sit on my porcelain toilet. If duty happens to call before sun-up, I never shine a flash light looking for roaches before I pee.
I was just telling someone yesterday - "You know, Americans have a choice. We can choose not to see things that disturb us. I could decide I never wanted to see a starving child or a person dying from AIDS."
They stared at me, "We have to see it."
But, not me. And, most likely, not you. We have a choice.
I have a choice.
I tried that for about two days straight, this week.
Morris ruined it for me.
He and I returned to the house around tea time yesterday. We were sitting on the twin chairs set up in the far corner of the living room when he said, "I haven't been sleeping. I can't get all these people out of my head. I just keep seeing their faces. I can't stop thinking about their lives."
He started recalling the stories I had put on layaway. "That old man with AIDS in his hut? And the deaf and mute little girl? And Maggie, with her step mother burning her?"
He interrupted my daydream about returning home to a double iced mocha and my mother's banana nut muffins.
I tried really hard to return to it, and add in a little thought or two about the new flatscreen my roommates picked up for free this month, and a hot shower. I tried the age old tactic of letting his words pass through me, without absorbing them.
I can't hear you. I can't hear you. I can't hear you.
He wasn't done.
"Even if I left, and I never came back. I would still see their faces, I would still think about them."
I glanced at him, while he paused and sipped his coffee. My mocha/shower/flatscreen thought became significantly less enjoyable.
"I know that even if I left, and I was feeling comfortable and happy somewhere else, I would think of them."
He sipped his coffee again, and went for the jugular. "Even though it hurts me, and it's uncomfortable, I have seen it, so how can I just leave them like that without doing what I can?"
I mostly just stared at him - deer in the headlights - and said, "Yeah."