Many of you friends have heard it already... but for the ones who haven't, here is a version I submitted to Jedidiah's community story prompt thingy this month. The prompt was... Give love back.
"Everybody's Somebody in Brooklyn"
Blessed Boston. I had never been before. I should start from the beginning. I spent the summer in a traveling band o' brothers (and sisters) through my school, Point Loma Nazarene University, earning money doing an array of magnificent tasks including but not limited to music, media tech business and camp counseling. I needed space. I needed to breathe. I needed to get away. I think I'll go to Boston.
I spent an entire hard earned summer pay check on a plane ticket to Manhattan where I would meet my mother who would generously house and feed me during her business trip to the big city. Baller status. I had no specific agenda, I had no big plans. I just wanted to take pictures, eaves drop, speak to interesting strangers on the public transportation, and not catch anything foul.
I was then supposed to take a midnight train to Boston to meet up with some friends, and then another to D.C. to meet up with some other friends... There was a family emergency with Boston friend and that leg of the trip was cancelled. I had to stay another night in NYC with a child hood friend who lived in Brooklyn.
I've never been into college football so a night at the sports bar across town to watch Cal's kick off sounded less than appealing. A night-in with a Brooklyn slice, some beautiful pictures to iphoto and an exhausted California girl lounging on the couch sounded ideal. You can't order a pizza and not tip the generous soul that brings it to your door, especially in Brooklyn. I'm sure it's written down in some handbook somewhere. So I set off to the ATM for tipping fuel to the powers that be from delivery.com.
Two steps out the door and I realize I don't have my cellular device. On this particular night in a strange city all alone I felt it a necessity. How did Californians survive before cell phones? No keys. Locked out. So stupid. I fell into a deep disappointment of all things me and my friend and sports bars across the nation. I found someone with a phone and called my friend. She told me to pick the lock with a credit card. Two Visas and a Blockbuster rewards card later I’m still locked out but lo’ and behold there’s a pizza at my door and a friendly Italian delivery man who found it in his heart to forgive me for not tipping him.
I don’t want the pizza. I don’t want to call anyone else. I just want to sit there and cry. After a slice and a few tears I decide that I should give away my pizza. I set off to find some needy. After 7 minutes of hunting, I find myself in a seemingly needy-free community. Just fancy bistros and stone wall housing. I mope back to the apartment I’m locked out of. (Cue Charlie Brown score here.) I see a tiny shadow in the distance and figure it may be someone in need of a pizza.
It turns out to be a small child. Arianna is 4 years old and her incapacitated father sitting in a pool of his own vomit and tequila is having a rough night. Arianna is beautiful, curious and sitting on a stoop alone, locked out and wishing she were at home. All to familiar of a feeling. Dad pulls out a set of car keys. I play out every social work exam scenario I could conjure forth to memory from my college years, all of 3 months ago. I give dad the pizza. Arianna grabs my hand. I’m somebody to her. I’m not in Boston because of this little hand. I’m not in a warm apartment eating pizza and admiring my “agendaless” weekend because of this little hand. Dad disappeared into the dark, shady apartment building he was sitting in front of. We didn’t follow. We found our way to the bar down the street, incidentally named Safe Haven. We sipped on Shirley Temples and lemon water while coloring on enough napkins to absorb all the tears this little girl may have to cry because of her struggling father over the next 14 years of her childhood. This has happened before.… The Brooklyn police kindly escorted us to the 72nd precinct on 4’th and 29’th and we spend the next couple hours there in a sketchy witness room. I’m the closest thing to a familiar face for her. I can’t let go of this little hand. I love her napkin pictures.
I don’t know exactly what happened to Arianna. Later that evening she was taken to her mother and I was dropped off at Safe Haven… still locked out, still hungry, more tired but not so hopeless. If only I prevented a handful of hours of an incredibly ridiculous situation that she could’ve been in, then it was worth it… meant to be… and someone knows what needs to be better than I ever will. I just have to want to give.