Life, Love, and Death...Even in the City Flophouse  

AtomicArtist0 45M
5236 posts
10/23/2005 2:45 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2007 10:30 pm

Life, Love, and Death...Even in the City Flophouse

They sit on milk crates out front of the flophouse day after day, night after night, the same group of unfortunate, misguided souls sucking hard the life out of cigarettes just as sure as life is being sucked out of them. They are the lost, the lonely, the unemployable; their hair, clothes, eyes, skin and teeth all matching drab shades of brown, grey, and yellow and each smelling of booze, sweat, piss, and smoke.

I hear snippets of conversation as I walk by that never go anywhere..."did you ever see one of them new VW bugs?", ..."I think Hulk Hogan would make a great president"..."It was pretty exciting when the firetucks came..." as their tired, drooping eyes look up at me from their seated position as I walk on by and follow me long after I pass as if I am something special, like a rare bird or a sleek new sportscar.

Without fail, as I walk by, one or two of them are just about guaranteed to let loose an appalling, painful, wet, rasping cough, like a dying, rusted motor...a cough so deep, so encompassing of chest, heart, and soul that it usually ends with headspins, loss of breath, watery eyes, and occasionally even a puddle of bile and puke. A hard, rasping cough...a telltale sign that something dark lurks from within and someday...something...will take them down into the black, unknown void.

I hear their conversations, I learn things, I learn names and glean through their talks of Hulk Hogan and new VW bugs to learn of their hopes, dreams, and loves gained and lost.

Her name is Christine and her ass is easily a full two axe handles wide. Her hair is short and sometimes in a very masculine buzzcut, her eyes are as tired, drooping and grey as all the rest, her mouth hangs agape, and her dirty clothes, stained with piss and nicotine, stretch wide to accomodate her girth. Being smaller on top and very wide at the bottom, she has the appearance of a girl melting as she sits and smokes out there with the rest. She could be younger than me but she is never without her walker. I'm not quite sure of her age as her tired and slumped demeanor and oldlady walker can add years to her appearance. In spite of her dreary condition, she has a man who loves her.

I don't know his name, and maybe I should, but he cares for her greatly. They go on walks together...or at least they try. Just about 75 feet from from her seemingly permanent seated perch and almost to the corner where my apartment intersects with another street, he waits patiently for her as she makes her way as slow and lumbering as a tortoise.

"You can do it, sweety", he said gently.

With sweat on her brow and her face writhed in what must be a profound pain in her knees, arms, and heart, she watches me as I seemingly race by, unaided by a walker. I'm no athelete, but I am nowhere near the delapitated condition she is in. I have my dull aches, even at the almost young age of 34...my flat feet, the dull ache of my knees, especially the left one, the occasional back pain and the dark circles under my eyes all telltale signs that someday...something...

I look back to where she is struggling to move and our eyes meet. "Come on, you can do it, Christine" I though quietly and wanted to say.

"No I can't." She said. "I can't. Take me back."

Dejected, she slumps on her walker, resting. She has failed him and failed herself. He gently puts his hand on her shoulder and rubs her dirty short hair in a very sweet and very heartfelt gesture. They embark on the long, arduous trek back...just 75 feet from a life of freedom. 75 feet down a road that stretches for all eternity.

One day he sat there alone and smoked. Several days and maybe even a week goes by and I notice he is still without her, more dejected and tired than he has ever been.

"Are you going to visit Christine in the hospital?", another weary soul asks.

"Yes", he replied.

Its been awhile and Christine is not coming back, I'm quite sure of it. In an already rejected, down and out bunch you can see the loss in their shoulders, their eyes and epecially in his. Something...has taken her down for good. It may have been an ambulance ride in the middle of the night that has taken her further than she has ever been...beyond her 75 feet and down the road to Swedish Hospital...then who knows where after that.

He sits alone and smokes in hopes that an ambulance or maybe even death will take him to a more beautiful place than this. They all do the same until the Seattle rain takes them indoors to do much of the same...to smoke, and to wait.

They were all children once with hopes and dreams as big as mine were, I'm sure. Whats happened to them? Whats happened to me?


rm_Cocokins 49F

10/25/2005 12:07 am

Atomic....you are a sweet tender boykin...all the darkness in the world could not hide it. In Los Angeles, we have so many people sitting on corners on crates. They do form a family, they have love, they have incredible pain and they find joy in simple things. I have seen parts of their bodies that looked non human from illness and just plain filth, living amongst the elements all the time. I would like to think that someone would take me in, give me a couch to sleep on. I don't think I could survive out there.


passionateforit 46M

10/26/2005 6:36 am

I think that you just simply have a brillant style. I read that you even did not knnow of the chicago convention and do hardly ever get any views, ten at most maybe. Well, if you ask me, if someone were to be invited, it should have been you... My highest respect, and I usually am quite stingy with acknowledgement, I donĀ“t say such a thing easily. I am not easily impressed - I am far too arrogant for that.
I will have more looks at your blogs in the future.


AtomicArtist0 45M
6015 posts
10/26/2005 12:48 pm

BigGirlz as always, thank you for your warm insights and additions to my work. If it wasn't for your continuous approval, I probably wouldn't blog all that much.

1BBL, thank you also for your approval and friendship. I'm glad you can find another facet of me interesting as we are all capable of achieving many vastly different interests and styles from being state of the art humorists to soulful observers of life. Everyone has so many capabilities.

Cocokins, You're right, at first sight I may seem a bit crass and maybe even a little creepy. I put up the dark and dirty persona, but benieth it all I can be pretty tender. It takes special eyes to find that in me sometimes, and you have found it. Once again, I love your writing style and your particular insight. I learn new things about life everytime I read your blog. Thanks for letting us read your work.

Passionate, As I am a bit arrogant and self centered myself, I don't dish out compliments well to folks I don't know. I'm as you are jaded and not impressed by much...so for this reason your compliment runs the deepest. With your warm regards, I may consider myself cool enough and popular enough to attend the convention next year. Thank you, sir for coming out here and finding me in my little corner of Blogland.


rm_sj365 55F
2414 posts
10/27/2005 8:04 am

bittersweet
beautifully written
what happened to them? *sigh* life costs and some just dont have the fare.


havenbliss 43F

10/28/2005 6:42 pm

Sometimes as I walk down that street I smile and sometimes when I am alone and they say something to me I say a kind word back. I don't know how often they hear kind words from those that pass by them on their way, hurrying to get someplace else...to escape just like they wish to. Thanks for the reminder to pay attention...

What do you say we take a walk tomorrow by there and say hello..


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