Last night I met some friends for dinner at Rojo, a local bar / restraunt / hipster hang out close to my apartment. I have to admit, I enjoy reminding people that I live close enough to walk when they ask if I want to ride with them. Somehow I find a little satisfaction remembering it myself. (I often wonder if I'll ever live in a cooler place than I do now. I also often answer myself, "hopefully, but not likely.") So one of my roommates, another newer friend, his friend, and I walked up to Rojo. We got there ate our food and sat and talked. Apparently there was some mix ups with our orders. To make up for it the bartender / host I suppose, gave us some free deserts; deep fried burritos with cheesecake filling. It was very nice and unnecessary of him, but we obliged to our host's kindness / ploy for contined business.
After sitting for a while chatting we decided to leave. I was ready to go actually, and I thought it only reasonable because tables were valuable and we'd been there quite a while and had recieved free stuff. It seemed our welcome was about to wear thin. On our way out we stood there and asked eachother what else we planned on doing. "Nothing," was the general concensus. So we agreed to go to the married couple's house and do our nothings together. Nothing always seems more bearable with company. Well as we were walking past the laundry matt a guy sitting there asks us for some money or to buy him dinner. I've been reading, thinking, and studying a good bit lateley about poverty and its roots. And for sometime I've felt a little softer to people who are in need. So I walked up to the guy and started talking to him. My friends kinda kept their distance. I told him I'd buy him some dinner if he wanted, but I wouldn't give him money. He kind of reluctantly agreed, so I told my friends, still at a decent distance, that I'd catch up later.
"What's your name, man?" I asked. "Cocoa." He said. We went inside, looked at the menu and he asked, "What's my limit." I just said, "Well what do you want." He chose a Philly Cheesesteak, my usual, and some Sprite. We ordered then went back outside to sit and chat. He's been through a lot. His story wound around highways from Cleveland to his Aunt Brenda's house in Tarrant, to Soutside where we now sat. He's a kinda shy guy, taked of being abused as a kid, and thus feels he's led a double life. Turns out he's gay, but doesn't want to continue with the lifestyle. In the back of my head I wonder if he singled me out because he thought I was gay. I think these days people tend to think Im gay more than they think Im straight. It actually doesn't bother me, just wonder how I can use this to help some people. Anyway we ate and continued talking. When he was done with dinner we got up and walked out, still talking. I had suggested that he try to make it back to Tarrant to his Aunts', at least then he could sleep freely. He agreed that was his best option. So he asked if I could take him there. I was a litte taken back. After all I didn't know if this guy wanted to rob me, shoot me, or do gay stuff with me or what. I told him that I would call my roommate and see if he'd go with us, and if he would I'd take him there. I called, he couldn't go. I called another friend, no luck. I tried to call two taxi companies, strike 3 and 4. Finally, we were walking around and I said, "Look man I want to help you, but for all I know you've got a gun waiting to rob me. I have to watch myself because Im too trusting and I want to help people and one day Im gonna get myself in trouble." He said, "You know Im the same way, try to help someone and always get the ass end of the deal." So we contiuned to walk and try to reason our way through this together. Then all of a sudden, "Im God's child." Cocoa told me. "I believe that," he continued. I looked him in the eye and said, "You don't have anything, and if I can't trust you, what do you have? Let's go get my car."
I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do or not, but I was sure that whatever happend, if he was going to rob me or whatever, he was going to know that I believed he was a child of God, maybe even more so than he did. Either way he was going to know that I thought he was valuable. So we got in the car after the walk back to my apartment. I drove him to Tarrant, talking all the way there about God, sin, homosexuality and how come after God destroyed Sodom and Gammorah there were still gay people, and how it just didn't make sense to want to be with another guy. (His words not mine) We got there, he gave me his aunts phone number, then supprisingly his cell phone number with Alabama area code. I didn't have the heart to question why he had a cell phone if he needed me to buy him dinner. I told him I'd call him and pick him up and take him with me to church today if he wanted. I've yet to call but its close to that time.
I couldn't walk away from him not doing all I could for him. I can't try to understand people in need, thinking that they can make it out, while treating them like they are hopeless, or less of a person that I am. I still don't know if it was the smartest thing to do or not, but all is done and all is well as far as I can see. Hopefully he can change and get a job. Hopefully he really believes he's God's child.