I was still soaking wet from a hot shower when you called.
“Natalie.” you deadpanned. “I am hangin down with these people, Puerto Ricans maybe, and they was jokin about my friend who jumped under the train a few years ago. I told you about that. And now they fuckin jokin about him. Natalie. I am tired. I am old and tired and I aint sober and I lost my higher power. And Darnell jumped in front of that train, he just straight jumped... over in a quick second, it probably didnt even stop.”
I blink and my words come out strangely, “Please listen to me when I say this cause these days I am hardly never impressed with people and even more rarely do I say so if I am. But you, your strength is earth shaking. For the love of god, dont fall down now….it aint time yet. hold on to your higher power.” and I shiver in my towel from the chill leaking under the rotting back door.
“Natalie. Everyone is always sayin that I am strong. I aint strong. Im just fuckin alive. And Natalie I am tired. It is always this hard, it just dont never get fucking easier and I am too old. I cant even see my grandson. I am so tired. Come on, you always paintin those pictures back in your room, well paint this: a little girl, tired and dirty, dirty teddybear and dark brown hair. And a big heart. Paint that and you will know.”
You are very drunk by now. You pause, gulp something, breathe heavy, and continue:
“You made me that CD for the bus ride and I listen to it and that makes me happy but underneath, those songs you played for me back at the lodge was so sad. and I feel it in you, that sadness under you. I say, damn that girls been through a lot, been through some shit. but listen to me, goddamn it, would you fucking listen to me, I know you aint listening!!! dont let it get you like this, dont take my fuckin way, cause look a me I aint happy Natalie I am so fuckin tired and Im just like when you finally hike that appalacian mountain trail or whatever you call it think of me, girl.”
Through the static reception and the Puerto Ricans laughing in the background I swear I hear a train start clacking down the tracks.