I can honestly say that I am not a lover of cars. Maybe this is because as a rule cars come and go from my life fast. It all started on the day I turned sixteen and received my driver’s license. I asked if I could borrow the family car that night. I emphasized that unlike some irresponsible new drivers who sped around town to reveal that they had finally received their licenses, I was going to a tent revival for teens led by E. J. Daniels, a fiery evangelist preaching a series on sex that made everyone swear to remain virgins for eternity. Of course most of us were subconsciously planning to break that pledge right there in the tent as we looked at the wonderful various options life had for us. My parents succumbed to my sexual purity and allowed me to have the car. I took great care as I drove to the event. My friends who were with me teased me about how slow I was going. Arriving at the event the flashlight men were there to direct me to my parking space. I was to park right by the big neon sign on a trailer with a hitch. It announced proudly the ongoing revival. It was big and unmovable; I know this because in this big empty field except for this sign, I hit it. Not hard mind you, but it left a sizable scrape on the side of the car. This would be the beginning of my driving career.
This auspicious beginning would be the first of several events in my life. I later, while allowing my friend to drive around town in my family car as I made out in the backseat of the wagon, heard a slow scraping sound on the side of the car. I immediately popped up and yelled stop to my friend of the slow reflexes. He had driven between a telephone pole and its guide wire. He had not noticed or heard the guide wire scraping the side of the car. No, it was me in the back of the car, preoccupied, who first heard the sound. The scrape started from the first fender to a little past the back door; the guide wire had come loose at that point and I had yelled stop several times by then. The scrape was not the only problem; I was not allowed to permit anyone else to drive. So now I had to lie to the police that I was driving and to my father likewise. My father looked skeptical as I weaved a long and sordid tale of how this could happen before he told me my friend had called and confessed to the whole thing. It would be to my detriment that all my friends were scared of and at the same time liked my father. Dad forgave my friend who has probably forgotten the whole incident and since I am telling you this story, you may conclude I was not so easily forgiven.
Another time I drove the van on a cross state youth church choir trip. I was not singing in the choir because after the director heard me sing (and this is true) he asked me to mouth the words. After that I saw no real reason to be in the choir, which politically caused a problem for the director of the choir. I was the All-American youth--excelled at sports and was in the National Honor Society. Also my father was a deacon and my mother was a Sunday School teacher of a large class and I was dating, part-time, his daughter. The Director decided that it would behoove me to drive the van and follow the bus around on the trip. I thought this was cool because while all the others were stuck on the bus I, Mr. important Guy, drove in a separate vehicle where one of my friends and I cranked up the radio and sang all we damn well pleased along with it.
The problem was the van started overheating after we had been to our first destination. Every stop I had to put antifreeze and water in to try to keep it cool. This was not that cool but again it made me look mature as I opened the hood of the van and pretended I knew what I was doing. The girls, at least in my mind, had to be awed by this. But the van finally tired of my constant attention and struck back. It was running extremely hot and we had to pull over at a service station. Smoke was coming out from under the hood. I looked confidently at the bus riders as if to say “do not worry I have this under control”. I popped the hood and reached for the radiator cap. It was hot and burning my hand but realizing all eyes from the bus were on me, I ignored the pain and turned the cap. The radiator turned into a volcano spewing out hot liquid lava (water) all over me. I proceeded to run amok in the parking lot disrobing because the drenched with lava (water) tee shirt and shorts were holding the hot water against my body burning me. Finally I came to rest in front of the bus with my shorts and shirt pulled off, my torso, legs, and arms with minor burns dispersed over them. I was basically okay because I had disrobed in record time and providentially had not felt the full brunt of the explosion of water.
As the adults gathered around me to assess the damage and were relieved that with a little burn salve I would survive pretty much unscathed, the Director looked at me and reminded me that I had no clothes (except my trusty boxers) on. I suddenly felt a new burn of red across my face as I looked at the bus and saw everyone; now that they knew I was okay, they begin to giggle and point. My coolness had been burned away.
The next days were filled with comments of my boxer short choices and how the various females on the trip could no longer hold themselves back from my manly screams and erratic running amok in the parking lot of the service station. Some would mockingly comment on how they would never be as confident as I was to disrobe on a choir trip in public. Atta boy they would say to me. The worst part was the choir geeks were having a field day with my mishap and my chief sports rival was very pleased with the unfortunate series of events that had besieged me.
This was only the beginning of my checkered history with cars. Later years my car would be mugged, I would roll two cars, and have many other mishaps. The events of me and cars, if told in full, would fill the pages of a Tolstoy novel. But luckily I will only fill one or two more blog pages with the Revenge of the Cars or maybe after Stephen Spielberg’s movie My ‘Duel’ with Cars or maybe after Stephen King’s novel Christine and Me.
Because I am on vacation I have republished the Short Story and Historical Ruminations posts. But be sure not to miss the Cranky Man Philosophizes as it is new and I hope thoughtful.
There he was the man who was to use my body for a tool to create a garden that was legendary. He dressed in his homemade sandals made from old tires me in my sporty basketball shoes. He wore or should I say let hang from his body an old khaki shirt with torn sleeves me in my colored v neck t-shirt. He with his blue jean shorts with holes barely covering his body me in my new shorts. He wore a circle broad rimmed straw hat and I had my trusty baseball cap. I was at least five inches taller and hundred pounds heavier. He was shorter than average and not an inch of wasted sinew. He looked at me and you could see an internal shaking of the head as he thought, “big and strong but won’t last an hour in the south Georgia sun.” He watched as he handed me a hoe he thought “hasn’t gardened much because he is uncomfortable handling a hoe.” You could almost hear a sigh as he grumbled “this is what they give me.” I didn’t take it personal I had a funny feeling this was a similar assessment of all the volunteers he was given.
He had went to Bangladesh with a United States aid organization after receiving his horticultural degree. He was ready to share his wealth of knowledge. But as with so many young Americans who travel to Third World countries with starving populations, he was the one who learned. He learned how much you really need to survive. And it wasn’t much. He learned that you can be happy with little. He learned how fragile human life is and how nature was blind to human welfare and governments did not value most of their people’s lives. He learned that it was hard to change even suffering people’s minds about new techniques of farming, and that living in areas that constantly flood would eventually lead to death and destruction. He learned too often governments are only concerned with spending money on things that help the elite maintain power. He learned that poor people did not matter to governments as much as national prestige did. He learned that in a land of poverty, being able to grow your own food was key to survival and the only way to withstand the whims of a wayward government.
He came back to America and experienced culture shock. Survival here was so easy. But the easiness also was on the backs of other less privileged folk. So he vowed to himself to get as near as he could to the basics of survival and life. He could not buy his own land. So he told a commune in southwest Georgia that he would grow them a garden. They would eat well and treat the land with the respect it deserved. They said yes and the garden grew.
Bob was short and wiry without any fat on his body. He was dark-skinned from working in the sun all day. He was a blur in constant motion making you wonder if he had his own personal hydro-electric plant inside. He walked fast and with purpose on feet shorn with shoes made from old tires and leather he stitched together, at least when he was not bare foot. When he wore a shirt (the commune demanded it at meals and community meetings) he wore an old khaki shirt with the sleeves cut out and unbuttoned in the front. Some in the community joked that when he went to weddings his formal dress was he wore his shoes and shirt at the same time.
People laughed about his simple living. “What did he use for toilet paper”’, they wondered. But it was always done with a sense of awe. Because no one really wanted to know what he used for toilet paper. He refused to use anything that did not need human power (except when he used the old steering wheel stick-shift truck to get around the commune) in the garden or elsewhere. His volunteers would often comment they were Bob’s plow; they were confused when he did not make them stay in the barn overnight so he would have access to them 24/7.
He worked me and the volunteers hard but we always left inspired and informed about gardening. He gave impromptu lectures on cow, chicken, and horse manure. You learned the various acidities of the manures and what plants prefer which manure. He did this all while he held it in his hand to show you. He even asked you to smell the sample manure in his hand because he claimed you could tell the potency by smell. Many volunteers passed on this. When we passed he gave us his sheepish grin and a shake of his head implying “I have not made a true gardener out of you yet.”
He foraged for mushrooms and edible greens (read weeds). Occasionally, he would lead groups through the forest showing us all the things there were to eat. There would only be a few who would eat his forage. He cooked his food by a solar cooker he made out of aluminum foil and discarded wood. He had a staff and a sari he wore on special occasions, making him look like Gandhi on a salt march. He rarely left the commune’s land. There was an abundance of things to do on these 1,200 acres; he reasoned, who needed more? He started a recycling program before it was the fad and the commune filled the barn with cardboard. He would invent ways to use the card board in the garden or elsewhere. The world may not have caught the recycling bug but Bob led the movement here. But it made him disgruntled when he realized how much packaged items the commune used. You can never win with these American consumers. He grinned; he saw a new trend start, not buying things with packaging. He could hear the bellyaching already.
He also enjoyed life. He loved community events and would attend all of them unless the garden called louder. He shared his journal readings and they oozed with the passion of nature mystics such as Muir, Thoreau, or Thomas Starr King. There was a lot happening inside that small man’s heart and brain.
He loved the non-edible plants too, just not as much as the food plants. So he planted lush indigenous plants around his shared abode. It became one of the stops along your way no matter how many times you passed. He became an expert on organic gardening in Georgia. His gardens were a mecca for organic growers in the state.
He demonstrated with his life how to survive and thrive with little. Like most people who have found how to eke out meaning in life, he had his detractors. And sure people would take one thing out of context and use it to distort the rest of what he did. But the totality of his way could only leave you breathless at the simple beauty of it all. Some claim no one else could live like him. But that was not the point. Do not be me but do not let your life become cluttered with things. Appreciate and know the things you need to survive and add as little more as possible was his message.
He would eventually move from the commune to live on land he purchased by saving his small weekly commune stipend of $15. The garden is not as vibrant as it once was but his spirit still inspires the community. Even folks who have come years after he left hear the stories and see the skeleton of the garden he once grew. They know the legend of the gardener.
What motivated him could probably be found in pages he has not shared in his journal. But I imagine in those pages there is some poor Bangladesh family who struggled to survive in a land subject to flooding of their fields and homes every three years. That family came to live in the depths of his soul. And ever since, he does not want or need to have more than his share of the abundance of this earth. He wants to show the world we can have food for everyone but first we must get back to basics.
He lived so simply, you could not say, “I cannot live like that.” No, you would have to say I won’t live like that.
For all its prestige it sure was a wacky place. The historic First Baptist Church was where I attended church in college. The historic sanctuary and the seven story education building were hallmarks of downtown. The pastors were some of the most illustrious of the Convention. As a college student I attended and became very involved in the Church. I participated in their nursing home ministry once a month leading a service; I visited weekly two shut-ins in high-rise apartments in downtown Birmingham, as well as taught their youth Sunday School class.
But it was a little peculiar. The Senior Adult minister, whenever we visited the nursing home, would spend literally five to ten minutes washing her hands to “get the nursing home patient smell off.” It was a very ritualistic washing. She would wash her hands all the while apologizing to me. I liked her and she was actually good at her work.
One of the young adults defriended me after one too many doses of the writings of fundamentalist commune guru Francis Schaeffer. Our friendship depended upon if I thought Jonah was literally swallowed by a whale. When I pointed out that it said big fish not whale and that I was not concerned with the literal truth but the spiritual truth throughout the Book of Jonah, he would not be dissuaded. Either I confess a belief in the literal swallowing of Jonah by a whale or we would have to part ways. Now I was not sure what this meant since neither of us was going to leave the church and we were not meeting anywhere else. But for a month he did not talk to me even when we sat on the same pew. Another young adult told me they saw angels regularly. Really I asked could they take me to see one. Not right now but maybe someday he would come back but he was currently out of town.
The youngish minister who was a namesake of the famous evangelist Sam Jones was in trouble. He was too familiar with the young adult women and some were uncomfortable with his closeness with young adult men. He also would claim to be a prophet and no one could challenge his teachings or actions. He was interesting but short-lived there. To replace him they chose a retired seminary professor Dr. Fussell. He moved slowly and sometimes paused a few seconds to talk. It was not clear how old he was and we joked when he preached about Adam and Eve that it was a first-hand account. We fondly called him Dr. Fossil.
Probably my most proud accomplishment was taking the Youth Sunday School class and growing it to forty; then when I left there were only two. Let me explain. The church sat in the middle of downtown across from the largest government housing program in Birmingham. The housing had once been inhabited by struggling white families but now was occupied by black families. The church, in highly segregated Birmingham, was not integrated. There was no effort to do such.
One eventful day a black man walked slowly, limping with cane in hand, across the street. He sat in the back of the church listening to Dr. Fussell preaching for several months. He asked to meet with Dr. Fussell and when they met, he asked if he could be a member of the church. This was the eighties. The Civil Rights Movement of the sixties and the seventies had come and gone. He was a veteran without a car and lived across the street and there was no other church within seven blocks. So he came here and now wanted to be a member. All hell broke loose in the congregation. In Baptist life the church has a formal vote to accept you as member. This is usually a rubber stamp and used as an affirmation to the new member as everyone agreed to accept you. I was surprised this was an issue because the church I grew up in was filled with Japanese, Koreans, Mexicans, Whites, Blacks, rich, poor, enlisted, officers and other persuasions.
This was not the case for this man. A specially called business meeting was invoked. The meeting was one of the most farcical I had ever participated in. First they tried to amend their by-laws so that the youth who were officially members could not vote. But the rule was if they had been baptized they could vote. This did not pass. Dr. Fussell who all the older members loved was the facilitator of the meeting and he had stated in the sermon that week he would not stay if they voted not to accept the man. Members who had not in my three years there stepped foot in the building came out of the woodwork. One of the deacons in his early nineties gave a speech that was straight out of the KKK handbook. He proclaimed we have a Negro mayor and council now, the schools are gone, and this one black man asking for membership was the black community’s attempt to take over the last white bastion: the First Baptist Church of Birmingham. The elders and some others applauded fervently. I had to check my calendar; I was confused what year it was. Two of my youth (without my prompting) stated they could not see how the church of all places would not welcome someone. The youth were going against the will of their parents and grandparents. They were also heckled by some of the older members. When it came time to vote, realizing that many members would be uncomfortable voting no in front of Dr. Fussell, they called for a secret ballot. This was a move I had never before seen and apparently one they had never done over a membership. But they went secret. The votes were gathered and he was refused membership by two votes. The deacon stood up and started chortling praise God. Others wept. Dr. Fussell, who announced the vote, grew very silent and adjourned the meeting. He did not linger. The man was told the vote. He never came back.
In the next few months, people left. Almost immediately all of the young adults were gone. It was only Ed and I left. I had that joy, joy, down in my heart. He stayed because he now had a niche. The one of two young single adults left. I stayed to see my youth off as they went to other churches. The two who had spoken up were the only ones left after two months.
The deacon died two days later. Some felt it was an act of God. I reminded them he was in his nineties, and I am not sure God had anything to do with that meeting. But at least I thought the old deacon had had his last hurrah. Dr. Fussell agreed to stay until they found another minister. The elders begged him to stay but he could not. But because of the split they could not find a minister for a while. I listened more respectfully to Dr. Fussell now. He was wise.
The church eventually sold the sanctuary and education building in an effort to survive. They did. They built a nice church in a suburb and even said they would accept blacks for membership now. They had seen the light. I stayed with my two youth until it was time to go to seminary. They left the church and had me over for brunch to say goodbye and thank-you. It turns out they stayed because they did not want to leave me by myself. So much for my martyrdom. I guess this shot of reality across my bow should have forewarned me of my fate with Baptists. Yet somehow I would not have been anywhere else. It is the manure of life that helps you grow.
His name was Melchizedek. It is a biblical name of a priest that appears only three times in the Bible. Twice in the Hebrew Scripture and once in the Christian Scripture. His uniqueness was although he was a priest to the Yahweh’s rival god El Elyon Abraham is told to make a sacrifice to and be blessed by him. Later in Christian Scripture Jesus is identified as "a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek". This is significant to those of us who believe in a more interfaith way of being. I wrote one of my best papers in seminary on him.
So when I met Melchizedek he was surprised I knew so much about his namesake. Although everyone else called him Mel because they could not pronounce Melchizedek I always used His full name. I met him while I was coordinator of a group home for persons living with AIDS. His mother Frances and I had met at the Unitarian Universalist church where I was a member and had become friends. Melchizedek had contracted HIV and had developed AIDS. She was looking for somewhere for him to live because he had lost his home and refused to live with her. He was in his mid-twenties. So I had met with Frances, Melchizedek, and his sister Irene at my office to show them around our home. The three of them were all they had. Their kin shunned them and she did not want the church to know about it. He was a success story as they had risen from the government housing to a lower middle income lifestyle with hard work and persistence. But now they were filled with fear and shame.
They were worried about confidentiality. They were concerned with the predominant gay white population of the house accepting a black man. The tour went well but it came down to really his mother trusted me. Melchizedek wanted to relieve his elderly mother of having to deal with a dying son. His sister wanted to be sure he received good care. And I hoped I could fulfill their needs.
One other piece of the puzzle was Irene’s son Jarvis. He loved his Uncle Mel but they had all agreed not to tell him about his uncle’s health. I liked Jarvis. My son and Jarvis had gone to camp together and were in the same religious education classes together. I was always struck hoe the lives of Jarvis and my son were so different a fact determined arbitrarily by birth. I would have to hold my cards close to my chest to keep Melchizedek’s confidentiality.
Melchizedek became a good resident. He caused few problems, related well to others, and demanded little. He was dying and he knew it so he did not need much from anyone elsa. Irene would visit him on occasion. Frances’, his mother, physical and mental health was not doing well. She attended church less and less. She did not want to run the risk of them finding out about her son. I was doing my best to lead them through this crises.
He had been in the house for a little over a month. Things seemed to be going well. The house was going on an outing and everyone but Melchizedek was going. He was not feeling well he said. I stayed at the house so the resident manager could enjoy the outing. It was me and Melchizedek. We talked a little. He was in relative good spirits. He stated how his family had always been close knit and relied on each other and that was how they how accomplished a modicum of success. He was sad or felt guilt that he could not fulfill his mother’s hopes and the community’s dreams for him. He was like so many other black male residents who felt they had disappointed their struggling community. He excused himself saying he needed to lay down. As I walked down to my office I noticed how cavernous and quiet the house was when the residents were gone. It was a ghost of its normal self. I started doing some paperwork.
Thirty minutes later I heard a noise in the house. I thought Melchizedek must have fallen. I went to his room to check on him. He was on the floor struggling to get up. I looked at him closely and realized he was having seizures. I ran over to him. He had struggled to get back in bed but the seizures were wracking his body and he was sitting up and laying down like a rag doll. He was fighting the seizure. I grabbed him and held him to prevent him from hurting himself by falling off the bed or banging his head. He vibrated in my arms. I called out for help but remembered it was only the two of us and realized my voice was an empty cry in this silent home. I could not call 911, I could not reach a phone and I could not leave him. All my tools for survival were gone. It was only Melchizedek and me. I saw pain, anger, and fear in his eyes. After a lifetime he stopped seizing. I looked at him there was no life in his body. My heart was torn asunder.
I went to my office and called 911 and then went back to the room. He was not moving .I held him in my arms in case he was somehow still alive. The doorbell rang and it was the EMTs. I guided them to the room. I told them what had happened and gave them his medical records. They started ministering to him and then stopped and looked at me. They did not say it but he was dead. They took him in the ambulance. I slowly trudged back to my office and called Irene and told her he was headed to the ER. And then I stopped ‘Irene he was not awake or moving when he left.’ I called down to the ER and talked to the EMT who left his name, He stated “He died on the way.” I hung up and begin to think how I would tell the other residents about his death when they returned in a few minutes. The next few days the house would be a place of immense pain, consoling words, comfort in an age of fear, and house of worship for a memorial service to Melchizedek for those in the house.
His sister Irene would die a year later and Frances would pass soon after. Jarvis would be left at eighteen without any family. I occasionally see Jarvis who works at a grocery store and we talk about the old days. He seems somehow to be making it in the world but I wonder if he ever feels lonely or abandoned. I pray after seeing him because I have nothing better to offer.
I realized Melchizedek was my high priest into the land of death. He was the first person I held in my arms as they died. He introduced me to the arbitrary cruelness and distance of The God of death in an empty group home so many years ago.
Michael Ross was once rich and a prominent citizen. His home had been featured in Architectural Digest. He was accustomed to the finer things in life. He was polite and knew his manners. He reported he was from old money. He knew how to make you feel ingratiated to him. When he came to Phoenix Project he had lost everything and now his health was failing. Strangely none of this relieved him of his regal attitude. He demanded a lot of things. Now being demanding was not necessarily a bad thing. Some people demand to ensure they receive the services. Others demand things because they wanted attention. He demanded things because he was Michael Ross.
Michael was not an individual I would have naturally taken a liking to, as they say, but he showed me he could grow even when I doubted it. He wanted a room to himself when it was customary to have a roommate. He did eventually have a room to himself. He ran off roommates with his attitude and I concluded he needed to be by himself. He was special but not in the way he thought he was. But Michael was one of those people who no one wanted to live with, but they would follow him. He was full of ideas and adventures to be had. Because some of our clients were addicts, we did not allow the use of alcohol and drugs to create a safe environment for them. One time after I had quit for the day, an errand carried me by the group home. I noticed one of our clients leaving the convenience store, headed back to the home, with what looked like a brown bag of alcohol. I completed the errand and made a surprise visit to Phoenix Place because I knew that our resident manager was off for the evening.
When I came in no one was in the house, but loud music was coming from the beautiful courtyard out back. So I went to the courtyard: the music was playing, there was dancing, and over by the patio table and umbrella were several residents with Michael holding forth with a martini glass in his hand. Where did he get a martini glass I thought? I could hear the song in my head “You are so vain you probably think this song is about you” as I watched him. When everyone saw me eyes, opened wide and jaws dropped. I do not usually have that effect on parties I go to. I noticed under the patio table several brown bags. I could see the residents scurrying to hide the bottles on the table. Michael sat there calm as a cucumber. I went to the table and asked what everyone was drinking: they offered various non-alcoholic options. The unfortunate ones with bottles beside their chairs I asked for the bottles and told them to wait outside of my office. Although it had been apparent by the glances everyone gave Michael he was the ringleader, I did not yet have real proof of his guilt. He sat there in his seat with confidence. I asked what was in his glass; he replied coke. He had once told me he liked vodka and one of the bottles at the table was vodka. I knew it was vodka and coke but it would not have enough of a smell for me to confirm with a whiff. Michael grinning, looked at me and said knowingly, you can sip it if you want. He knew that people were scared of drinking after Persons Living with AIDS; he had me. In my mind I started calculating what to do. In our education programs we teach that you cannot contract AIDS through saliva or drinking after someone; of course I had never knowingly tested this fact. But to his dismay and the astonishment of all the others I took the glass and had a swig. It was vodka.
He looked at me horrified and his reaction surprised me. He was angry at me not for being caught but he was ashamed that he had put me in that position. He was not as convinced as me about the contraction of the disease. He said you should not have done that; you have a child and a wife. For the first time I saw a Michael who was pleasant to be with and not so smug.
Michael survived the alcohol incident and remained in the house. But the person I saw once smug I now saw subtle changes. One of those changes was the creation of one of the most unusual relationships at the house. He developed a friendship with Freddie, a black, straight, uneducated young man who had been homeless most of his life. The exact opposite of who he was. Yet these two people who would in other circumstances would have not stayed in the same room with each other took care of each other whenever the other became sick. It was a friendship made in the crucible of dying, but it was solid. It was so solid that when Michael developed dementia, a product of AIDS, he would call out to Freddie as if he was in his former house and Freddie was his houseboy. “Hey boy bring me some martini and cake right now”. Freddie, who would have ordinarily executed anyone for saying this in that manner, came to me and said I better get him under control or one of the residents would hurt him. We did what we could.
Michael’s dementia would cause one of the biggest mysteries of the house. One of our community activists, who was living with us and was a popular waiter at one of Savannah’s upscale restaurants, had moved in to the house. He had constant visitors. Michael had become a self-appointed guardian of him. To our sorrow we had found the activist dead in his bed with an unnatural contorted look on his face. This did not mean anything to us at first; many folk had died with similar grotesque looks on their faces. The problem was that Michael, in full bloom dementia, came crying to a staff person and had said he had smothered him with a pillar to take him out of his pain. Besides the look of death on the activist’s face and Michael’s full blown dementia confession, there was no other evidence that he had committed the act. His mother was not interested in an autopsy but was angry that such a thing might have happened. Michael for his part came in and out of reason and was making all manner of other confessions that we were sure were not true. An agreement was made by all parties not to look for what was probably not there. Michael would die a month later.
Many years later I often think mournfully of the mother and the doubt that rests in her breast of how her son died. I also often think of the staff Michael had confessed to. It would have not made much difference in the lifespan of the activist. Yet it is the gnawing doubt, the unanswered question, and a hurt left behind to those who tried hard to be a safe place at all times for everyone, even the arrogantly rich that will remain in the shadows of their minds. Walking on the edge of the abyss will always leave its scar.