My hands are shaking as I write this.
I’m in my hometown, walking down the street after visiting a old girlfriend and her kid. I’m smiling, listening to Cake when I see him, the person who broke my wrists in middle school, the dream crusher, the Bane to my Batman. He’s a server at a little restaurant near my old apartment above the fortune cookie factory. I haven’t seen him or heard from him since I started high school, we ended up in different schools, he remained a spectre in my life. He’s not a monster, he’s just a guy who works at a bar. He’s shorter than I remember him, granted I have grown about 7 inches since I last saw him.
His teeth are bad, that makes me feel good, im being honest, awful but honest. I worry that he skated through life, that the hurt he caused me had no effect on him, that he wrought but not reaped what sowed. He’s smilin, interacting with customers, I can’t believe I’m in here, sipping my Americano, awkward would not begin to describe this moment, he’s avoiding eye contact, we jut had a littler interaction while I was mid-sentence, he’s just doing the Sacramento thing, living and working, I’m a jet-setting artist and he’s still in the hometown.
And now I catch myself. I love him. I love him because he is a human being, he came from a tough family just as I, and sometimes we do things that we regret, sometimes we change. I believe that there are no bad eggs, that there is no inherent evil, we all can choose or be trained to be good or bad, to feel empathy or apathy, essentially, I have empathy for apathy… forgive those who aren’t sorry. Seeing him in the flesh alleviated some of my past fears, seeing that he doesn’t actually have horns makes me feel better. His shift is over, I managed to catch the very end of it, good timing?
I talked to one of his co-workers, very discretely I asked if he was a nice, apparently he had just started working there but is a “friendly & positive person”. I feel like a parole officer, but instead I’m just a creepy writer, a ghost in the flesh.
I step outside, thinking to finish the post later, when I see him sitting outside having a post-shift sandwich. I sit down and ask if I could harass him for a second, the first thing he says is “I could say it ten times, but I’m sorry for everything that happened” I smile, said we were kids, he said there was nothing malicious, I said our school was a jungle, he apologizes again, I light his cigarette. He’s in a rush to get somewhere, I give him a hug, I can feel feel the tension in his shoulders, likely the first time he’s met a transgirl, let alone hugged one. We walked out separate way, about a half-block away, he turns and says “Sorry!”
It was good to run into him, again, fear alleviated, old hostilities melt away, people change, we grow up and move on. Wow though. Just wow.
More stuff soon.