the billfold…notes

The billfold sat on the desk among clutter…various items lay there…some covered in dust while others were not…a coffeepot covered in dust…a gray film over books that lined the back of the work area…notes …appointments…thumb drives…an old pair of glasses with a screw missing from it…and that billfold…the brown leather billfold his dad gave him for Christmas one year back when he was younger…it was amazing the thing had lasted this long…

He looked through the wallet…an old almost expired Missouri drivers license was the first thing he saw…a picture of his round fat face and long black hair stared at him like a man from the past…that man was long gone…the black hair had now turned silver…his round face had thinned out a bit…behind the license was a New York State benefit card…again…that round face was looking back at him…this time without glasses…just a blank stare as if to say…gotcha….

There were various library cards inside the billfold…New York City…St. Louis…Cleveland…Newport, Kentucky…Fort Wayne, Indiana…which is where he currently lived…all those years of running ’round the country had come to this…Fort Wayne, Indiana…

As he looked through all the stuff inside…credit card receipts…old bus passes…a medicare card…debit card…old food stamp cards from different places he had lived… he started thinking about how this long trip across America had affected him…what it had done to his body and his soul…not nuch left of the body…the soul still had a life…he cried everytime John Coltrane’s Central Park West was played…that’s how he knew his spirit was still in tact…

Thought about all the walking he had done on highways hitchin’ rides…thought about all the busses he had taken when he had some money on him and the legs were weary…days spent in libraries all over…reading books…fighting sleep…remembered the homeless shelters and the drop in centers…all the breath tests for sobriety…bed bugs biting him…old blankets with dried blood stains on them…

He went through the billfold and saw three dollars inside…some things never change…still broke…always broke…but…cheer up…he thought…therfe’s a chance things could get better…things could always get better.

And for the last three years it had been better…stable place to live…medications on a regular basis…a monthly check from Uncle Sam…things were looking up…despite what the billfold said…he was on track now…and that kept him going…

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