I met a man with tears in his eyes today..

By Drew Baas

September 2, 2012

I met a man with tears in his eyes, and I asked him what was wrong. He said. “You won’t believe me, no one does.” I sat down on the bench next to him, and replied, “Try me.”

He took a moment to gather himself, and looked out to the distance at something imperceptible to me. He took a deep breath, and laboriously exhaled, then looked back at me, and began to speak. “I had a life once” He said, wiping his eyes.” I used to know what was important, what life was supposed to be, but that’s all gone now. I raised my daughter till she was six, I taught her to walk, and talk, to read, to be kind to animals, and see the beauty in the world, and be weary of its inherent dangers. She was the light of my life, the apple of her father’s eye. “Her smile could melt you” he said. Her maniacal laughter, could turn any bad day into a warm smile, like no bad could be in her presence..

He was a giant of a man, standing 6”3’ or more, with strong callused hands, that showed the scars of a hard life. His shoulders were wide, and he wore his hair in a long ponytail with gray in his goatee. He looked like he could be a former football player, or wrestler, or possibly a bouncer. I smiled, as I have children of my own, and I know that feeling, to be amazed at them sometimes. I asked “then why are you crying, on a beautiful day like this?”

It was central park in the spring, people on bicycles, children playing lovers holding hands, and the flowers were so fragrant you could almost taste their sweetness. An old couple was feeding pigeons, as someone roller-skated by, yet he was in his own sad world seeming not to notice the life around him. I asked him again, “so what happened?” He leaned back, and stared at the ground, they took her he said, “They took her, and destroyed my life.”

“Who took her?” I asked. “Her mother did.” He said. “With the help of her boys, they took her, and no one cares.” “They killed my dog, and cats, stole my car, and rifle, my heirloom Masonic ring, and nearly everything I owned, or cared about. I lost two homes, all my money, and nearly my life, and more importantly my daughter.”

“When did all this happen,” I asked. “Four twenty nine “0” nine,” He replied. “They day I was attacked for the last time.” “Who attacked you?” My ex, my ex attacked me, she trapped my arm in the window of a car, then stomped the gas, and dragged me through a parking lot.” I was stunned you’re kidding me” I said. Was she arrested? “Eventually he replied, but not before she was allowed to raid my home, after obtaining an order of protection against me within the hour, after she assaulted me with a car.”

As he related his story, I realized he was right, it seemed unbelievable, at least on the surface of it. But, the way he spoke, and the expressiveness of his face, gave me the feeling of deep honesty, and integrity. “She abused me for years.” He said like he was unburdening himself to a priest in confessional. “For years I took it, for years I just took it, she knew that after my daughter was born I was hooked, and wouldn’t leave because of her. After that she changed, or rather stopped pretending, at least to me, what she really was.”

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