I ran that day like I had never run before. I was seriously sucking wind when I stopped. My side was starting to ache and I was hacking up Marlboro's from two years ago. Yet, as soon as I felt semi-recovered I was back to running. The pain, the pain stops pain. Sounds strange I know but it is one of my secrets. Some secrets you just can't tell people. I learned that early.
No one wants to believe Nice Mommy is really not so nice. "Stupid kid! Stupid kid! Can't be true cause you're a stupid lying kid" was part of the lyrics to my childhood song. Mommy would smile at them and casually mention "Oh he is good boy but he ...." Here she would drop her voice down to sugarland and love levels and mention "The Doctor." When she was done,then they, they being who ever believed me or thought something wasn't quite right, they would give me that smile. The "I can't believe I thought/believe/wondered such dark evil possibilities." The "Such a nice kid for being so messed up" smile. After I saw that I knew I was doomed.
Pretty soon that smile went away. I was no longer young enough to be cute or troubled. I was just a pain in the ass, probably doing dope, lying, stupid no more a kid kid. Mommy...Oh Mommy. She brought the pain late at night. Bad Pain! Bad Pain! I ran and held my hands over my ears and screamed. Bad pain. so very, very bad.
That day, it was really night by the time I stopped running, I ended up under a tree. A big tree with nice chairs underneath. I sat in one and went right to sleep. When I woke up there was a guy a few years older than me sitting there under the tree watching me. I was lost for a second. Part of the bad thoughts and dreams still clung to me. Walking up in strange places is no big deal. What, at least for me, is crossing the border from where I go when I sleep to where I am when I wake up. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes not so easy.
I stared at him and he stared at me. I think he knew something because he gave me time to get all my little black people thoughts together and across the border together in one group. Sometimes they stray off and I lose a few and I feel incomplete until I find them. When I felt like we had all made it I said "Hi."
He looked at me. I thought he was going to smile. Instead he said "Hey." Then we both stared at each other. It wasn't uncomfortable but I felt the need to explain why I was there. It wasn't my tree. Maybe it was his.
"I was sleeping."
I checked him out. He wasn't staring at me which made it easier. He was just watching. He had lots of invisible eyes. I knew right away away he was a Watcher, there not all that rare, but there was more. I just wasn't sure yet what. Then I noticed the gun. He was a cowboy! No, that couldn't be right. Well it could. I knew this, I sent a quick plea "Come on like shadow thought people -- help me!" They did. I blurted "Gardener!"