Saving The Man of Gold and Diamonds
It was really late, probably around 2am. I was driving home from the Kava Bar and needed to get a lighter, especially since a tropical storm was coming. Of course I was in the Hood. I rolled into the gas station, parked close to the store at an angle so I could see, and got out of the car. Just as I was walking to the door a guy at Pump 1 calls something out to me. I look over my shoulder and see he is unscrewing his gas cap, lets it fall, and walks over to me. He is a middle-aged, white, businessman. He tries his best to pick me up with whatever lines he has… I am not really listening to his words, I am just watching his display as I go about my business at the store. I can smell the alcohol in the air, I turn to face him and look right into his eye, snapping into mother-mode, I say in a parental tone "Tommy, Have you been drinking?"…
. . . he admitted he had been drinking, like a little boy. And then he snapped at me like a wounded soldier demanding what business of mine it was to care. I explained it was not me I was thinking of, but the young waitress/mother/couple in a car that he may crash into because of his state of being. With that response he quieted while he considered pressing such a conscious wall. Then he started babbling off ridiculous drunken excuses. Paying the man behind the window for my source of fire I quietly said "Its just not a good idea to drink and drive, thats all".
I walked over to the car and he followed me. He was not threatening, he was just a guy who drank too much and was looking to pick up any girl he could find on his way home. I knew this. I felt in him what I talk to others about. A desperation within his soul to connect. A sadness within his heart because he is alone. A wounded anger because he feels everything against him, slipping away, wanting to hold on to it all, unable to let go or to grasp what it is that really matters. Blaming it all and everyone else. Not seeing himself or the beauty he could live in should he decide to let it all go and just love himself.
He kept telling me he sold Gold and Diamonds. Which turned me on… in the sense that I immediately dove into my file of human rights and human trafficking and started making my observations. I slowed down and relaxed a bit and understood I needed to spend a bit of time talking to this guy. Not only to give him some time to sober up, but also because I knew I was put in his path for a reason and he in mine. He started talking, babbling really, mostly a war between his ego and his broken reality all interlaced with a deep doubt and anger that kept blurting out at me when I allowed him to just spew without comment. I just stood there, shoulders square to his, eyes on his, arms down with my hands folded calmly around my wallet and my lighter. I did nothing but send him love straight from my heart and held understanding in my eyes from my mind.
When I turned it on full strength, he would become angry and shout "Who are You? Why are You doing this?". I would just grow deeper into the ground, weigh my arms down lower, flow the love out more and say "I am nothing but the Truth Tommy." Without judgment, without any feeling other than Love I asked him, like a concerned mother, why he had glitter all over his face. "I know you work with Gold and Diamonds Tommy, but it is really late and why do you have glitter all over your face and chest?" I knew the answer. I knew it the moment he left the gas cap hanging off his car and headed my way. But he did not know what I knew. He had no idea where I was coming from.
He completely shifted, I watched his face contort into the five year old caught with his hand stuck in the cookie jar as he looked down at himself. His feet shuffled and all the lights and colors of the night flashed in his minds eye like a carnival. A tiny smile tickled his lips. With the childlike memory of his night he got lost for a minute. He leaned his belly against the car. He became cool. Then as his hand stroked his hair back and he looked at it in glittered wonder he became a 17 year old who was quite proud and hormonally thrilled. His weight shifted into cockiness. Then he looked at me, eyes snapped back to the starkly lit Station, back to reality and became the middle aged man. . . one of the millions of men. . . who is just having another lonely night. He walked over to me, leaned up against the back of the car, and started to cry. The pages of all my books and research flipped and I saw all the flashes of my work. But this I never saw. This was being gifted to me now. The sadness of it all. Whose heart is broken more? The rawness and the reality. The pain.
"She was Tall like you." . . . he started to look towards me with puppy dog eyes as he straightened up. "I really thought she liked me and that. . ." He was trusting me with his defeated heart and ego. I just threw motherly love his way and he curled into himself again and started to become emotional. I needed to help him feel better about his broken heart. I snapped into my teenager ghetto girl lingo and gave him reassurance to bring him back "It ain't your fault baby, but you gotta realize somethin'. . . if she's workin' in a strip joint, she's makin' you feel that way cuz its her job. She don't love you, she loves your money." . . . "I'm sorry." . . . just before his hormonally challenged and broken 17 year old left, I jumped in "How old was she?" I demanded it of him so he would not have the chance to shift on me. He became serious as the numbers calculated and he remembered everything about her hair and face, her body covered in glitter. He answered again like a teenager "I don't know, maybe 35??" I relaxed a lot then and realized this was more about him and me tonight, not a girl. This was more about what he represented, what he could teach me and show me of this hidden shadow that lingered over my mind constantly. This was about both of us connecting and finding more of an understanding of the flashing neon sign blinking over his head screaming "DEMAND"
"WHO ARE YOU??" He demanded after his tears dried. He was in my face, but he was just that close because he needed to feel the love and trust that much more. He needed to know that I was real and true and that I was here for him. That I wasn't afraid or full of shit. That I did somehow, despite the odd clothes, eclectic car, strange array of collectables in back, cute little dog. . . understand his deep dark sickness. That I was going to give him the Peace or Piece he was missing. Whether he would remember it or not the next day was up to him. The Gas Station Attendant had come outside and was standing very close by. He was watching the entire time and felt he needed to protect. Once he heard our conversation, felt the vibe and caught my eye a few times he sat back with a fatherly grin on his face and realized what was going on. "Who are you??" Tommy was saying, he would shift back into the defeated five year old and ask under his breathe as he paced in front of me.
What I found to be so interesting was his reaction to the people who came to the Gas Station during our thirty/forty minutes of conversation. Four cars came within that time. Each car filled with between two to four African-American 'Brothers'. The Beautiful Boys of the Hood, that frighten the bah-jeebees out of your average middle class white folk. I have learned as long as you speak their language, respect them and let them know you know, they are pretty chill people. For each guy who walked by he would start spitting and spewing judgement which would create a negative vibe. I would jump to the defense and reprimand him for his disrespect. In which case he would stare at me in wonder and then slip into his suffering again. And then another car would drive up with more. Again he would covet me and tell me he was protecting me from these evil men of the Hood. Each time I would have to bring him back to the stage and show him how ridiculous his behavior was and how he was a reflection of society and the whole as to how he felt. How his actions and reactions were the cause of our cultural failure. How his fear was the breaking of love and trust. "WHO ARE YOU! And WHY are you doing this to me??". . . and then he would walk away, spin on his heel, come back and say "I know who you are. . . I know why i have to hear this. Okay, I know. I get it. I get it."
He would then again pull out his money clip which was a flapping array of hundred dollar bills. Well over a thousand dollars… he offered me everything. Telling me I needed to take care of myself and he would do that for me. He would offer in his 17 year old voice, looking down while he fanned the money in his hand… and then he would look me in the face and yell "Those Eyes!" He would then shove the money in his pocket again. "Why your eyes??" He did this several times. He knew I wanted nothing from him and yet he knew I was not judging him. Embarrassing himself. Then Angering himself. Then coming back at me questioning why I was the one who was doing this to him. "I just see you Tommy. I am not here for any other reason than to just see you." He would just look at me dumbfounded and say "Well what do you want from me?" . . . I just stood there in Peace and told him "Nothing. I just came to get my lighter, all I want is Peace and Light, thats all."
Just then a Jamaican man walks past wearing a mask of hate on his face, I only see his light shining through his yellow and green jersey. I feel his energy and know his face, see his eye as he sees mine and relax. But the man in front of me is still blind to the light and jumps at another chance to show his ability to protect. Mumbling under his breath something negative about the man walking by and how he needs to keep me safe from such people. Sounding like my grandmother "They will get you." I again pull away, shower the love out and say in a very sweet voice "You are wrong Tommy. He is a beautiful man. Just misunderstood." Tommy kept going on about how I did not know. . . and the man walked by constantly glancing back over his shoulder at me. . . "See, he is trying to get you". I stepped forward to the Jamaican Man who was trying to tell us something. Tommy yelled at him "WHAT DO YOU WANT?". . .I shot a look that would stop a train at him, he turned into a five year old. "Knock it off Tommy" . . . Our attention went towards the man who in a nice voice, and a big smile said calmly "Yeah, Mahn, yo gas cahp ees off, mahn."
I threw my head back and laughed. "See Tommy, Love and Peace". Thanking the Jamaican Man and Blessing him as he bowed to me. A pin popping the bubble of delusion. Tommy turned to me and Demanded again "WHO ARE YOU?" I just shook my head very tired by now. Many lessons had been gifted to this man, many signs were shown, and I prayed he could see at least a glimpse of one. . . through the haze and beyond all the glitter. . . when he woke hung over in the morning. "Tommy, I am just the Truth. I am just showing you your Conscious. I am just here to tell you that it is not a Woman you need, you need to Love YOU. Get rid of the Gold and Diamonds and Live Free.". . .I walked over to my little Rufus Dog and got in the car . . ."And Stop Judging People and Stop going to Strip Clubs because you are part of a Demand that needs to End".
After refusing everything from him and telling him I was free, he asked politely "Can I at least put some gas in your car for your time?". After many arguments I finally just said Yes so I could go home. He filled my car with gas… probably the first time he ever bought a girl a tank of diesel!. . . and I hopped in the car with Rufus and drove away saying a prayer for Tommy.
Maybe he was just another lonely drunk sad man on his way home from an empty night out. One of so many men who will stumble into the gas station across our country after hours as the last stop before he goes home. One last stop where maybe he can find what it is he needs to fill the hole - not just in his car or his stomach, but in his heart. He is one of millions of men who follow the same dark empty path every night. Millions of men, not just in America, but all throughout the world. Men who have filled their lives with materials like Gold and Diamonds to replace Truth and Love. Men who have lost the ability to Trust, Love, Connect and have no idea what Peace really is. Men who numb themselves with toxins so they no longer see or feel. These men are not bad. . . they are just sad. They need Love. Their broken hearts cause them to be insecure which leads directly to Anger and Blame. Their sadness leads them to a state of desperation that taps directly into their instincts of survival. Add Alcohol to that mix. The instinctual behavior mixed with their Anger causes their actions to be more extreme. It isn't that they are bad. . . they just can no longer see or feel. They are just evolving with the culture and becoming the worst nightmare which we are all creating. An angry, lost, sad man in a broken society can be a scary thing. . . . but when noticed, embraced, reassured, loved and trusted, Could Possibly Change?? A Product of Our Culture Can Be Changed by Changing Our Culture… Which is Every One of US. The Blame is NOT on just the Man. It does not start with Demand… It starts way before that.