I am listening to Joni Mitchell's Hejira as I sit listlessly down at the shopping center as people escape their cars to come and shop. That song Black Crow begins to play on my mp3 player and my foot taps contagiously to the beat.
There's a crow flying
Black and ragged
Tree to tree
He's black as the highway leading me
Now he's diving down
To pick up on something shiny
I feel like that black crow
In a blue sky
It reminds me of the first time I heard this album. I thought I had found heaven. Drunk songs. That's what they are. Songs listened to on long drunken drives out into the country -- to escape the people that so mystified me and scared me. Soundtracks of a life that once was. I shouldn't be listening. It makes me long for a beer.
Clara, the homeless woman, is mulling about down there today. She looks frustrated as she watches patrons bring out brimming carts full of groceries from the Piggly Wiggly and cheap Chinese-made products from Fred's Dollar Store. I notice her get up and walk towards me. I grow afraid we are going to have another confrontation about her begging for money. She passes by with nary a mention of my name. I sigh in relief. She has a conversation with Big S within earshot.
"I'll pay you back tomorrow," she tells him. "I only want five dollars."
Five dollars. Five dollars will buy you two bottles of Boone's Farm wine and a pack of twenty cheap Smoker's Choice cigarillos. A veritable panacea for what ails an alcohol addicted homeless woman. I notice Big S give in and hand her a ten dollar bill. My shoulders slump in defeat. Do it once, do it twice, I think.
I will admit I have a savoir complex. I want to save everyone from going through what I experienced. It happens with Ferret. I tried with George. Rosa saved herself and I found her that way. There have also been furtive tries with Clara without much success.
When I first started to go to AA, I felt so alone. Hands trembling. Social anxiety roaring in my head. I remember someone handing me a cup of coffee and welcoming me for coming. A room full of smiling faces greeted me. These are drunks? I thought. They seem far too happy to me. A handshake steadied my trembling hand and I sat for my first meeting. That hand reaching out meant so much to me. Maybe I just want to do the same; my savoir complex much like my father's. Just don't hang me on a cross for trying as some are apt to do.