I want to love the things that no one loves.
The bedraggled. The dirty. The ones where you have to pick up the edges with the tips of your fingers and peer under and only there is beauty.
But there is always beauty.
I want to love the ones that no one loves.
The ones with dirt under their fingernails. Whose pants have holes in the knee. Who smell like piss and alcohol and whose beards are stained four different shades of yellow and brown.
The ones who if you stop for long enough can play a trumpet or chess or sing in a way that sends shivers down your spine.
Roy was one of those.
The ones that no one loved. The only one in five months whose body no one claimed, who went on to be cremated with the rest of the anonymous bodies who had died unbefriended in the hospital that month.
He had dirt under his fingernails and you could count each of his ribs. Some days, he smelled like piss; others like sawdust. Some days he’d sing with me and others he’d vomit up the bananas I’d brought, eating them too fast for his starving, for his dying body to handle.
But he’d pray with me.
Each evening before I’d left, he’d start the 23rd Psalm with me. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Then he’d trail off, go silent, and I would finish it for him. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The day before he died, he dreamed of angels.
At least he dreamed of angels.
At least, surely goodness and mercy shall follow. At least, as he cried out for human contact one last time, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We said amen together that night.
One more time.
I write his name again and again because someone needs to remember.
Because he was loved.