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Archive for the tag “disenfranchised”

Disenfranchised

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I lost a child.  You lost a parent.  She lost a spouse.  He lost a limb.  We lose what we lose, and when it’s lost, it is gone.  Not misplaced. 

Not missing like car keys to be found five minutes later next to the half-and-half in the fridge. 

But missing like one minute you’re saying “Good morning”, “Goodnight”, “See you soon”, and the next, you’re never saying it again, except to a ghost.

This is grief, unless it’s not your child, your parent, your spouse, or your limb.  Then, it’s an excuse, a personal problem, a character flaw.  And it isn’t even that your grief doesn’t belong to you, it’s that you don’t belong to your grief.

You are disenfranchised.

From your pain.  From your love.  From your god-granted human experience.  From all of it. 

You are disenfranchised. 

She lost a best friend?  Get over it.  He lost a girlfriend?  Get over it.  They lost a reason to get out of bed in the morning?  Get the fuck over it. 

When our right to grieve is denied us, except within the boxes others say must be checked.  When all love is love, but not all grief is grief.  When pain and mourning require blood kin for legitimacy.  And when the dignity to recover, as we are, is questioned, we are disenfranchised.

And if you wonder why this story has no end, it is because, like an end to grief, there isn’t one.  Because like you, like me, like he, like she, it, and we, remain disenfranchised.

 

© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday

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Superman

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“They used to call me Superman”,

he told me, sometime after midnight.

“They still do.”

I told him I could see that, not letting him know I saw his blue tee shirt, with the red ‘S’ on the chest, showing from inside his jacket.

He spoke no more intelligible sentences. He only looked at me, his eyes into my eyes, with an expression that made me think of Dave Chappelle, if Dave Chappelle was crazy.

Yeah, take that for what it’s worth.

And then, he put out his hand. Not to ask for money, but to ask for my hand in return. One man to another, like in the old days. Then he said,

“I’m an addict.”

I did not look away. Not to the security guard off to the side of me, too far away to have done anything, if anything needed doing. Not to the hospital in front of me, and the ER he was visiting. And not to God, who at that moment seemed to leave me to make up my own mind about what to do with the drug-addled superhero standing in front of me.

So, with my eyes never leaving his, I shook his hand, in the way men shook hands in the old days of superheroes in America. Strong. Resolute. With the understanding of what we were to everyone else in that moment.

Forgotten.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

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