there but for the grace of God

I was not hungry, but I was cold. Had just finished losing my last $20, and did not have the stomach to remove any more from the almost empty bank account. All I could think of, was that if I had not gambled it away, that money could have paid for a hotel room. That, and I wouldn’t feel like such a hopeless piece of trash. Didn’t even have a blanket, who knew it got this cold in Vegas?

Curled up in the front seats of the car, I pulled a newspaper over myself to have some kind of warmth and snuggled my head down on the seat. Was almost asleep when heard some young people walking through the garage to the casino. They were laughing and joking, and it reminded me of times in the past, when I would be the one laughing and joking–just on vacation with plenty of money to burn.

Then one of the men let out a bark of surprise, and he said “Look, that guy’s sleeping in his car!” They all busted out laughing. I almost wanted to sit up–yell at them that I wasn’t a guy at all! People are so awful, and I wanted to scream at them. I wanted to make them feel bad. I wanted them to feel bad. But instead, I snuggled further into the seat, forcing myself to hold back the tears that wanted to spill.

december 1995



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