He waited expressionless, though not quite patiently, sitting in a waiting room chair in direct view of my office doorway. When I called his name with a smile and a “Hi!” he rose from the chair and shuffled his bow-legged way toward me, his face still without expression.
Sitting down, he said he wanted to see where he stood. Since he had done the same not two weeks before, I waited for him to work himself around to the real reason why he had come. He asked a lot of questions before he dove deeper.
“I’m told I spend too much time in bed,” he said.
Fired from his truck-driving job, his wife, he said, talked to him with disrespect. So, having his pride, he left her and moved into a motel room that cost him $750 a month. After a few months, he moved to a small apartment in another town, living sparely and alone, and spending the same amount on rent, sucking up a good portion of his Social Security.
“What do I do? No one will even look at me. No one will hire a 68 year old man. I have to do something.”
But what? That was the question that he found the most difficult to bat around. While doing so, further light broke through his cracks.
“There’s things happening with my body now.”
He spoke of tingling, burning in his hands and feet. He spoke of his fear of going to a doctor, to hear that he was deathly ill. His hand shook as he pointed toward his chest. Was that tears welling up? I couldn’t tell because of his distorting glasses.
Rarely did his conversation leave holes to pump hope into, but I had to try. I pushed and I pulled, injecting realistic and off-the-wall possibilities every chance he gave me to get a word in edge-wise. A few times, I saw just a hint of glimmer in his eyes, there only until he found reasons to shoot them down. So, I pushed more.
When he stood up to leave, he had a purpose. He would go to the doctor to start feeling better physically, which would help him see more possibilities on what he could now do.
He’ll be back. There’s more holes to pump hope into. He’ll be back.