Taking a Knee, by Joe Heaton

Today is a glorious day. It is a joyful day for us. And yet, I have been staring at my computer screen for hour after hour, thinking about what I want to write, or if I want to write. I am going to write about Morgan.

I have seen Morgan several times before. One time, he asked me for a donut. I told him that I would get him a donut, but also a sandwich. I made him promise to eat both. That was weeks ago. I have not written about Morgan before.

I saw Morgan again today. Normally, he has a towel over his head and another draped over his neck. He always has a book. It kind of made me think that he was hiding from the ravenous bug blatter beast from Traal…or reading a book of Vogon poetry.

I saw him another time, walking down the street with his towel, reading a book. Again, I figured it was Vogon poetry.

Today, I saw him twice. The first time, he told me that he ate the donut first, then the sandwich. Then he corrected himself and said that he ate the sandwich first and then the donut. I really do not care, so long as he at the sandwich. He asked for coconut water today. Okay. I will do that. His towels weren’t over his head today. They were on his shoulders. Maybe he was in the mood and sober enough to have a conversation. So…

Take a knee.

Morgan, you are worth my time. How old are you? 25. Morgan, you are worth my time. What drugs do you take? Cigarettes, alcohol, weed, and meth. Morgan, you are worth my time. How are you? Morgan, you are worth my time. You can do better. You have suffered enough. You can use your experience to help others. Stand Up.

I wrote it like that as a rhetorical device. A literary device. It didn’t go quite like that, but that was the gist of the overall conversation.

I took another walk about 12 hours later. I was lost like a Second Lieutenant. I came out of a 7-Eleven and headed to another 7-Eleven because the first one didn’t have what I was looking for. I saw a dude about a half a block ahead of me. I recognized the towels.

“Morgan!” Let’s talk. By the end of the conversation, as we happenstancely walked down the street together, he gave me two books. Ulysses by James Joyce and The Experts in Vietnam. One book was 681 pages. The other was 505 pages. A homeless dude handed me 1186 pages of legit literature that he had read that I had not. I did not see that coming.

I like books. Apparently so does he. I promised him that I would put a book in my backpack that I would give him if I ever see him again. I am not sure what book that should be. I am thinking about that. The thought that he was reading Volgon poetry because he always has two towels was humorous, not meant as an insult. But I didn’t see that coming. Whatever book I choose, it will not be “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.”

I asked him if I could walk with him as we were going back the same direction. While we walked, I quizzed him as to what he remembered. He remembered everything. So I said again, as I said earlier that day: You are worthwhile. Stand up. Earlier in the day, he had promised me that he would do better. He said that he had done better today. I do not know. I hope so. He still had a towel on his head after dusk.

Apparently, Morgan has a thing about the sun. In the first encounter, he asked me to buy him a sun-blocking bandana. I invited him into the 7-Eleven to show me what he was talking about. They didn’t have what he was talking about. Apparently, though, he is okay killing himself with meth, but doesn’t want to die of skin cancer. I don’t get it. I am learning.

Today was a surreal day. We got the best news in our lives that our boy has a 96% chance of being okay. And then I ran into Morgan twice; once because I took a wrong turn. Is God at play in these things? I hope so. I hope my walk with Morgan after the wrong turn will serve to help him. I hope a lot of things. I simply do not know.

One thing that I do know is this: The next time I talk to Morgan, I am going to give my adieu by saying, “So long and thanks for all the fish.

Take a Knee

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1 thought on “Taking a Knee, by Joe Heaton”

  1. You are simply awesome to do that. Morgan appreciates it, even if he doesn’t say so. If not, he would have avoided you.

    Reply

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