Words Have Power, They Are Magic pt 17

wordsI ended up going back to the shelter for the Wednesday meeting. Not because I really cared so much about my sobriety but because it was raining and she was there.  Mostly the raining though. I have not had a lot of luck with women in my life. They all seemed to be bottom feeders except my dear wife reset her soul. Damn I still missed her, after all these years.   Yet there was something about the Audrey Hepburn look alike. She drew me to her.

I saw her walk in a little late. I had sat at the back of the room.  It was a bit of a habit of mine to stay out of the way of polite society. I did smell a bit I though. And I guess after all these year of drinking myself to oblivion, soiling myself in the process I always thought I probably stank. Which struck me as funny, attending sober meetings in a homeless shelter and I was worried about how I smelled.  Yet, I sat in the back anyway. She came in and looked around. She saw me in the back and smiled at me but she did not come sit next to me. I was a bit relieved and , honestly, a bit put off. There was an empty chair next to me, What I wasn’t good enough for her.

After the meeting, I saw her in the lobby, but after drinking a pot of coffee to myself, I had to use the bathroom. When I came out, she was nowhere to be found.  Well, what did I expect that she was going to wait for me? I was an old man and she was a cute, young thing. I am sure she had other things better to do then hang out and talk with an old, homeless, drunk.  I was a feeling a bit lonely a feeling I did not have very often when she walked back into the room. I swore the room got brighter.

She was with a young man and the pair walked over to me.

“Hi there” she said smiling at me.

She was carrying some cookies and she handed me one.

“I brought you a cookie.” She turned to the young man next to her. “This is my fiancé Will. Will this, well now I don’t know your name.”

That ended my nonexistent romance with her. No way was I going to go out with a soon to be married woman.  I smiled back at her.

“Richard, the name is Richard and I did not catch your name”

“Oh I am Audrey.” She went on talking about stuff that meant not much to me. Meetings, conventions, and something about a book.

I drowned her out and I looked at her. She was indeed beautiful with that waif like look. Dark hair dark doe eyes. Her fiancé was a lucky man. I wondered where I ever got the idea that she was going to be a special friend to me.  I think I thought better drunk. In fact, I should go get some.  Ant, my son had given me some money from my royalties so I could afford them.

“So, this is the guy who told me that words are powerful, that they are magic.” her voice cut through my thoughts.

She was talking to her fiancé and another gal who had walked up.

“Yes he told me that words a powerful and that people should watch what they say. That the words you speak a magic. I thought about that and I think it is profound. We do have power when we talk. I mean I heard Mary, here talk the other day and her words were like magic to me. I really felt a connection, as she was talking about my story. She said some things that got me thing and that is powerful. “

I looked at her a bit dumbfounded. I was wrong all around about her. Beautiful yes, but dumb.  Thinking that speech about how someone got sober was the power of words.  That listening to something that touched your hear or your mind or your sober spot or whatever was the magic.

I interrupted her. “I think you misunderstood. Words are powerful, they are magic. Not because of what you hear but because of the power, they have to change things. If you say them, they are powerful and can be magic but if you write them down, they are solid. They are so powerful they can kill people.  Or change their lives forever.  Words are not something to play with to trifle with.”

“Exactly” said the other woman.  “Exactly what I hear never touches me or teaches me lie what I read. That is why I read the book every day. You never know what you might find that can change your life. I read the Bible every day too.  SO powerful and magic can definitely change your life.”

I could not believe these people. They had no idea what they were talking about yet they stood there acting as if they knew, that they have been around so they were of course, in the know.  Did they truly think that the power was just whatever they decided it was and the other words were benign? I am sure the books they read had power, they were sober, and so they said. None of them smelled like alcohol.  But the sober part was a choice. The book didn’t do that. The books magic was in keeping them that way I should read this book.

“Hey where do you get this book?” I asked

The answer was that they were five dollars and I could get one here. So I chucked up the money and took the book. Charging homeless guy for a book. Humph.  I went back to the big rooms where a cot was waiting for me. I sat down and opened the book.  With the rain pounding on the metal roof of the old warehouse drowning out the noise of the shelter, I read the book straight through. I was impressed. There was good stuff in there and I was right it was powerful. The words would definitely help someone stay away from the booze if that is what they wanted. The writers were clever to never tell anyone what they should do. All of it was an idea, a suggestion hey this worked for me maybe for you. That was its power.

If fact it was powerful enough to help me make the decision, I was done with drinking. I didn’t know about going to the meetings but I was not going to drink for now. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do about the words. They would want to come out.  I would have to think on that.  But not right now. I was sleepy and wanted to sleep .As I drifted off I thought I heard someone talking close by. Talking about me.  Talking about me being that author who wrote the children’s stories. I was probably dreaming.

Check out time for the shelter was 8 am. I woke up just in time to gather a few things from the free table, some socks, and grab a pastry and head out the door. Right into a huge gaggle of reporters.  They were yelling my name and asking questions. I pulled the pastry from my mouth and stared at them. They were shoving microphones towards me and in the back were cameramen jostling for the best shots. What the heck. Finally, one voice came through louder than the rest, clearing up the confusion on my part.

“Is it true Mr. Bittner that even though your books are highly successful you have been homeless all this time?

Aha! That was it. I did hear them talking about me being that writer guy last night.  Someone had told the press and now I was a long lost author miraculously found. Well no way was I going to play that game. I did not want to be that guy. That author. I did not want to be known and famous. I could live without all that. They would want me to write more, to use words carelessly. No way.

I shook my head no and went back into the shelter. They tried to follow but the priest that ran the shelter locked the doors behind me. He looked at me in question. I shrugged my shoulders. He didn’t ask but he showed me a back way out. Unfortunate, there was press there as well.  I was good and stuck. I thought about getting hold of my son, but didn’t want to drag him into this.

The priest brought into an office area. There was a TV there and I turned it on. Sure enough, there was breaking news about the sudden appearance of world famous author of the Three Rascals stories, who had been homeless. Blah blah blah. I turned it off. The thing I never wanted seemed to be coming true. I never want to be famous.  Damn it I should of not let my son publish the stories.  Oh well I knew it would happen eventually the magic you know.

I could not stay at the shelter forever but it seemed as if the reporters could. Although some had left, there was still a fairly good amount camped out front t and back.  They had vans and actual rvs out there.  Who knew I was such a big deal? I didn’t. The police had been called to move them from the front doors so the other men and women could access the shelter.  I could have left, but I knew that they would just follow me wherever I went.  I could not have that.  I did not want that.

The priest was very patient but he didn’t want me to camp out there forever. I loved that guy. He was the only one who never asked questions, never drilled you for information. He was accepting and loving. For his sake, it did what I did. I found a pen and paper and I wrote, “I wish that the reporters would find something else to report and leave me alone.”  I folded it up and put it in my pocket and I waited.

This time the magic did not take very long. All of a sudden, there was a huge explosion that shook the shelter.  I ran to the front in time to see the reports all running towards the front of the shelter where the large church stood.  They had forgotten all about me as they ran by. I walked over to see what was up, totally unmolested.  There was a huge hole in the street in front of the church. The church itself had some damage to the front but the houses on the other side of the street were demolished.  It looked like maybe a gas line had blown.

The reporters where setting up their cameras and some were already talking into the cameras, telling America about the breaking news, the disaster a bonus to their news day, maybe bumping up the ratings of whatever network talked first with the most information.   I walked back to the shelter and ran into the priest walking towards the church.   He looked concerned and I knew that the big church was his responsibility. I felt bad about the damage. It was a poor church and I was sure they could not afford to have it fixed.  I stopped him and said

“I am so sorry Father. You have done nothing but be kind to me . I hope you understand that I had no choice. That I had to use the words. I will make it right for you.  I have no control over the words. They do what I ask but I never know how. They do what they want. “

The priest looked confused, “This is not your fault. What do you mean the words do what they want, their power?

I nodded slowly, “Yea the words. “

The priest looked at me  a little longer searching my eyes; he then went past and hurried toward the scene of the explosion.

I called after him.  “Yes Father, the words. The words have power, they are magic”