Monday, February 5, 2018
The Blood of a Hobo
He never let me down. But when I finally met him 12 years ago I looked at a rundown version of myself. A foreboding meeting, an encounter of acceptance, and all I wanted to see a look of wonder in the eyes. Yet I only saw pain behind his eyes, the depths of a paincave I could only imagine. What was it? A disease? Regret or shame? Drugs? Yea, maybe it was drugs. Nah, it was a bipolar disorder. That’s it. It has to be with eyes that filled with pain. I mean, he was a hobo, a fucking skid row derelict for his life; not this hippy happy hobo trendy thing, but a REAL hobo. His paincave ran deep; he endured everything, no regrets.
I watched his mannerisms, observed his gesticulation, studied our similarities, arms waving and his face convulsing, his fingers gyrating, hearing tales of a hobo life. I mean, being a hobo to me is like a Mexican being a Mexican or any ethnicity that bleeds that ethnicity. Watching him: fuck it; I bleed hobo.
I rove over lands like a coyote, on the fringe, rather, within a fringe of society feeling ‘outside.’ I often wonder how I have made it, or not lost it. How am I still here? I often wonder how I have not ended up like him, even though I am him.
A year ago this day, I still felt detached from everything, mainly people and society. I had walked 6500m in 7 months and felt obscure, apathetic. I kept blaming a lightning strike that struck within about 150ft away, reasoning that the electric charge travelled within the ground and put me miles away from myself or anyone else. I felt blank, sullen. I drank heavily that night, a year ago today. Something deep inside felt heavy and empty, a blank mass. I felt the lightning strike again, the blink of the flash stayed with me.
The flash stayed with me like an excuse, like that first encounter with him. Unbeknownst to me, I felt him, finally losing him. I recall glancing at him and consciously saying to myself ‘that’s me.’ A few months later, my mom told me that he had died that same day, a year ago from today. The details hazily obscure, although his life within a fringe heavily apparent. And that date, last year, I pinpointed that blank mass in my memory and intuitively knew that was why I ached that night, that my paincave echoed with that flash of lightning.
Found on the side of a desolate road in an old minivan, hunched over, bloated heart, diabetic, fraught with pain, guilt and shame, succumbed to the elements——did he have that look of wonder behind those eyes. When I saw him: did he ever? He must have, because I do. I think he gazed in the vast distance, contemplating nothing, only discerning wavy blurs, the blues of the hobo, the pursuit of the unattainable, the chase of the infinite, erasing time, eroding self. With the brief encounter, I wonder, still, and my eyes smile more that my mouth. I saunter on towards something I know not, a nameless path, towards the indiscernible.