Danny suffered a violation the day he went out to handle funeral arrangements for his wife. Her family broke in to his home and tore it apart for things of value. His mattress had been moved. Jars, turned on shelves. Jewelry he had bought and specially designed was stolen. I attribute the move to being stabbed repeatedly after lighting has all but killed you. He saw the ugliest side of those who should have been there to support him. It was like losing additional people, and having everything and more taken away at the worst time in his life.
He changed the locks immediately and covered the windows in thick sheets. Heavy flower arrangements needed attention as they swallowed space. People continued to call. People tried to get in. Cards were flooding in. Everyone. Was. After. Them.
I showed up for coffee. I’m not sure how I did it, but it involved getting dressed and making that decision to answer to everything that was happening.
“I’ve always wondered about him,” a coworker warned. “Just make sure…he really had a wife. And that. She wasn’t murdered.”
I showed up early, without calling ahead, in hopes of catching the entire concept of intimidation off guard. He had removed the sheets from the windows, letting in the light. And then he let me inside.
“Hey. You look nice.”
I began feverishly locking everything behind me. It wouldn’t take him long to notice that and thank me for it. Protection. You can just feel the need for it.
“What the fuck, girl? You’re like, super early and I’ve been cleaning toilets and shit.”
All of the shapes. All of the colors. The dog, jumping up on to me, something I could cling to.
“I’ll give you the grand tour. Starting off with the master bedroom. Come on.”
I laughed. He knows he’s funny, even when he knows he isn’t joking. I was standing there in his bedroom, looking around. Very nice. I joked to myself about being possibly strangled in there, something that would blossom in to the Serial Killer Theory, but I wasn’t afraid of this poor man. This guy couldn’t kill me. Not like that. Not with death.
As he got ready I listened to the fish tank filter, a crowded bunch of rescued pond fish overwintered. I flipped through his music collection and saw photos of his step children on the floor, facing the wall. So many dramas, so many stories, I would never tell them myself – but there is a lot of pain, within them.
“Okay, well, we’re going to go over to my mothers’ so I can look at her car. She says it’s leaking fluid. Okay?”
My first visit and he just wanted me to jump in his car with his big dog and ride over to his mom’s place. Scatterbrained? Just comfortable? I couldn’t be sure but I knew it made perfect sense to him. I laughed.
A little later on he received a phone call from his mother and I did not indicate that I could hear her clearly, right away, blasting out from his phone.
What kind of person just comes over to my home like that? How old is she? Danny, it’s just too soon. This is bad. Don’t bring her over to your house, this is wrong! I can feel it! You need to think about your reputation within that community!
Harlot. Jezebel. He took the call elsewhere but the impression had been made.
I was quiet for a while, after that. He asked, “What. What is it. What’s wrong.”
“Nothing.” And then, the next time he asked the same thing, “I could. Hear your mom.”
“I know you did. I’m sorry. I’m embarrassed.”
And as we moved throughout his home, talking, he showed me examples.
“Look at these ladies pushing strollers down the street. They’re looking at us.”
Sure enough, two women walked by, heads turned completely sideways, staring, scowling.
We decided to take the dog for a walk one night. Danny was running around, getting ready and I heard him yell, “’He’s bendin’ her over right now!’ That’s what they’re saying.”
When he pulled on a tee-shirt, his entire shape shifted. There’s something about him, his lines, his proportions – that are not typical. He is in good shape, is smaller, skinnier, for his age. And in certain moods, his language will slightly change, elevating, often sounding very youthful. I am always adjusting to it, and he caught me looking at his ‘Aeropostale’ shirt transformation.
“What’s wrong, why are you looking at my shirt? Is something wrong with my shirt?”
I didn’t know if I should explain, so I simplified and met his eyes, “Can I fuckin’ lookatchu?”
He shook his head and walked off in to the other room. “I know you wanna do it.”