19 July 2008

Tottering across street on walking sticks

What caught my attention as they crossed the street ahead of me was that they used walking sticks: two women, tottering but trying to get across University Boulevard quickly. As I drove by I could see they were grimy and weather beaten, or some kind of beaten. One had gray hair, maybe 10 years older than the other, but I wouldn’t try to guess their ages. They looked like they’d been busted up by living rough, booze, drugs, bad thoughts or bad people.

Edmundo called earlier in the day from El Paso and said he was going to sell his R.V. and move to Albuquerque and wanted to know if he could rent a room with until he got on his feet. I don’t think he even said hello first. He called the night before, the first time we’d spoke in a year, never asked question, and almost immediately started complaining about his new wife, who he married a month and a half ago after living with her off and mostly on for about five years. April’s adult son is a no-good, lazy sponge and his wife is no better, according to Edmundo. “I’ve got to get out of here.”

“Isn’t it about two months too late to be figuring that shit out?”

“I just want to come to Albuquerque, work on my art, go to N.A. meetings, and hang around people who aren’t crazy.”

I’ve heard this lament, the some gripes about April and her family, almost to the word, for years on end. He moves here and within two weeks, sometimes two days, Albuquerque sucks or the people here as just as crazy, and he’s back in El Paso.

“I have got to get my life together,” he told me.