Monday, December 15, 2008

Due dilligence

Along into the last quarter of the show, the happy couple found their seats. The pair of them were clearly overdressed for the occasion. He had on a black suit, complete with white linen shirt and tie, shoes polished to a gleam. His head was freshly shaved and still pink from the razor. She was in a designer skirt, boots that crept up to her knees and a blouse that revealed the shape of her cleavage without actually showing the goods.

I was a little taken with her, not because she was beautiful, which she was, but because of the obvious effort and expense put into making her this gorgeous. Few people go to the trouble for something as casual as a concert. Her nails were freshly cut, shaped and polished. The woman's blond hair was one-hour-away-from-the-stylist perfect. Her makeup was perfect. She practically shimmered.

The pair of them sat down and laughed along for about a minute, which was just enough time for whatever they'd been taking to sink in. Like they were watching a 3-D movie, the two of them each put on a pair of sunglasses. The tall, bald man in the black suit stumbled off. Walking was a challenge. The woman, his companion, slowly turned to stone.

She crossed her long legs then propped herself up on the arm rest. Her angle was not unlike that of a crushed soda can. On stage, Seinfeld told his jokes. People laughed. They roared. She didn't move, except to breathe.

Over the next fifteen minutes, her date came back twice. He sat, tried to hold her hand and watched the show. Always, something attracted his attention and he shambled off, moving like a man wading in a creek. I kept an eye on her and guessed which drug had been her choice this evening. My best guess is they were snorting heroin.

By the end of the show, the man hadn't returned, but the woman was still there, still locked in the same slack position, just shy of being asleep. The crowd around us filtered out. The folks in the other aisles went past her like a viewing at a wake. I stood next to her, not sure what to do.

"Miss," I said. "I need to get out."

She scooted her legs back just an inch or two and I slipped past. I looked at her from the edge of the aisle. She hadn't moved, except that tiny bit to let me out. I stared at her, saying nothing, doing less. The theater was nearly empty. I looked around for the man in the black suit, saw him sitting in the back row. I decided to leave it to him. I had an errand and a deadline to deal with. She was fine. He was fine. They were both just very, very high. I walked to my car, but it was a little too easy to rationalize doing nothing.

I'm not really kicking myself over leaving. It's just an acknowledgment of the truth of my own character. It's who I am now, but I want to be the guy who doesn't walk away: not a hero, just human.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. So what do you think was going on? Why were they sitting together and then apart?