Saturday, January 19, 2013

Be Very Afraid

“Let them think what they liked, but I didn’t mean to drown myself.  I meant to swim till I sank – but that’s not the same thing.”


_Joseph Conrad




When Jim lost his hearing in his right ear it really didn’t bother him.  In fact, it elated Jim because now he could say to people who tried to talk to him: “I’m sorry, but I’m deaf.”


This new affliction and unlike the many other afflictions that had recently beset Jim, this one pleased Jim to no end.


By nature Jim was a very weak man.  Jim remembered early on with envy the way some guys in the Army were able to hurl a soft ball with such amazing strength and accuracy.  It was never this way for Jim.


Jim was explaining this to his bunk mates one night when he finally made up his mind to inform them of his recently acquired malady.


This deafness came upon Jim really by accident.  It began shortly after his arrival to Galveston Texas in the summer of 2012.


Jim came to Galveston to get away from this family.  “As far away as humanly possible,” Jim would often repeat to complete strangers.


Galveston Texas is a small sleepy beach town with a large historical district located on the on the Gulf of Mexico.


As a result of Hurricane Ike in 2008 many of its residents relocated to the mainland leaving behind a poorer and less populated Island.


On Jim’s first day to the Island on Sunday August 3rd Jim found himself stranded outside a Greyhound bus station with the hot Texan sun beating down upon him.


Inside Jim’s backpack was all of his belongings: a pair of jeans, a couple of shirts, and a few magazines.


When Jim lost this bearing that fine hot August day Jim didn’t know who to talk to or what to say.


So, with his customary bravado Jim slung the backpack over his left shoulder and covered his eyes with his $250 sunglasses and headed West on Broadway, per usual, looking for his place in the sun.





Richard Porter, January 2013


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