Thursday, October 21, 2010

For the Love of Christ

Living in this big house, alone since Tom died, has its advantages and drawbacks. This is the first time in my life that I have had to take care of gas, electricity, and water bills, and it’s lonely out here on the Island. Raymond and Denise will not come to visit, though Denise calls occasionally. She says Ray maintains a grudge. Thinks I benefited unduly from Tom’s death. He seems to forget he was the one who pushed me into accepting the invitation to move in here giving the two of them more space in the city. I haven’t made any friends yet, but I do go to the 7-Eleven more than I need to in hopes of finding the clerk Raquel on duty, and I shoot the breeze with her if there are no other customers.
Yesterday, answering the doorbell, I found a Jehovah’s Witness on the doorstep. When I noticed he was practically tractless, I invited him in, convinced that I would not be converted, but that I’d have another voice to listen to for half an hour.
The young, blond-haired man, still a boy actually, made a lot of good points, but had not quite won me over, when he was suddenly beset by a bout of hay fever or some other allergy. I thought it strange that he had a handkerchief, a black handkerchief peeping out of his pocket, but never pulled it out to sneeze into. Instead, he kept extracting tissues from one of those little plastic packets one can pick-up at the 7-Eleven, not officially Kleenex brand, but universally referred to as such.
Oddly, when he discovered he had used the last tissue, he told me he had better be off. There were still many people to visit. “But you will think of checking out the Witnesses, won’t you,” he asked.
I assured him I would without the slightest intention of doing so.
He was not driving, but walking rather from house to house, and I thought he was a long way from the Watchtower in Brooklyn where he said he lived. I wondered about the significance of the black hanky in his pocket, but concluded it was one of the last of the personal possessions he had kept on entering the Service, perhaps a gift from a loved one he had lost, and it served merely as decoration with no utilitarian purpose.
Far from cheering me out of loneliness, the young man left me feeling sad for the rest of the afternoon.

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