The time he wasted being wasted, he couldn’t do much about it now, but Merrill was set on not losing another second. He was done being a drug fiend. He’d learned to say that but now it seemed too harsh, he didn’t really feel like a drug fiend. He’d been too wasted to be that kind of fierce. Now he was too far away from the sensation that burned him up inside to remember if he felt like a fiend. A loser, a joke, a sad sack of a man. All those things.
Merrill got up from the park bench and started to walk. This was something new to him and he liked the feeling of his long legs going to their ends. Heel down and then that push forward. He might walk all the way to town today. Not far, but he’d never done it. He imagined himself stopping by a church that had left its doors open to the seeking souls like himself. He’d really wanted to be a believer, saved all in one swoop. Someone with the story that started with, “I walked into the church that sunny morning and God spoke to me and I never desired drugs again.”
Merrill laughed out loud. That’s what he’d wanted. The full monty of saving, not what he got which required him to carefully set out each morning with a particular intention to save himself. Coffee made at home, maybe some saltines, then work. Now on the weekends he’d taken to walking because free time is scary time and that’s what they don’t tell you about. Those big blocks of free time that had been spent looking for the high, keeping the high, losing the high, thinking you should eat, not wanting to eat, falling asleep, passing out, then starting all over again. And the time spent looking for money to do all of the above. And time spend running away from landlords and girls and whoever else you’d screwed over.
Merrill decided to take a side street. There really was church on this particular lane. Something right out of a movie with double doors peaked in the middle—and low and behold, they were open. On a bright Saturday morning in spring with the lilac blooming, and Merrill noticing that lilacs existed. He knew this was his morning to get a little help with his project. He took five steps slowly peeking ahead to see if anyone was inside. A strange churchy smell came to meet him and reminded him of the funerals he’d attended. Maybe this wasn’t gonna be the morning of his saving, but he didn’t give up so soon. He stood a while longer, making it to the threshold. And lo and behold someone called out to him. “Come in.” A voice wavered toward him. “You’re welcome to come in. Jesus’s house is open to all.”
And so Merrill took his long legs and stepped into a dark church and let his eyes get used tot he darkness. A sound of hope filled his head.