Mar 18 2006


Posted by J. Craig Canada in shelter, sleep deprivation

Dominoes is a jail game. A prison game.

When I first arrived at The Concentration Camp, the one thing that stood out in the chaos was the domino table. It was an oasis of order. A beat-up old card table with a broken brace on at least one leg, surrounded by four old men.

I haven’t slept since Wednesday night, and I didn’t sleep well then. Two or three times now I’ve gone back to the shelter thinking I’ll try to talk to Marcus, or Vicki, about getting back on the church groups. Or just go to the armory. But still, though I’m dizzy from lack of sleep, the prospect of sitting up another night on the hard cold concrete in the freezing wind is preferable.

I went back yesterday and sat with Randy, Tommy and the others for a little while, enough time to finish the two or three cigarettes I had with me. And then left with no regrets that I didn’t try to get on the church group or go to the armory.

I transfered enough money to my credit card to cover the finance charge which should be hitting any day now, but I didn’t have the self-control to not spend some of it: on coffee in the morning to get out of the freezing cold, on cigarettes, on a soda at night so I can sit in the pizza parlor (where it’s warm) until about 10:30 and use their WiFi.

Dominoes is a men’s game. The group at the table, and those surrounding, watching the game and participating in the chatter, were in stark contrast to the rest of the yard, to the insanity everywhere else.

The day I’ve feared and done everything I can to avoid for the past ten years has come. They’ve taken everything I have, and maybe my sanity at times, and spat on me as I cry in the streets.

I’ve almost had everything: the scholorship at Sewanee, the college roommate that was such an ideal love prospect and so willing that he frightened me, the land and money from my father that I never expected. Almost having it, only to see it dashed before my eyes, time after time after time, is truly Hell and maddening.

Some time next week the last domino will fall, my accounts will tilt. My website, my genealogy, and all my scribblings will disappear. My storage will be sold at a flea market: the family photos, the court documents, the videotapes, my civil suit, the few pitiful remnants of what was my life. My driver’s liscense has expired. My last pair of long jeans fell apart a week or so ago (I’ve been wearing shorts for weeks, sometimes with long-johns on under them, sometimes not.)

Well, I tried. And I had (and still have) the courage of my convictions, something that’s evidently totally useless in this brave new world. A world I’ve never, evidently, understood.

I’ve fought the good fight all my life, and the world is a much different place now than it was when I was a child growing up, thanks to me and the hundreds and thousands like me. So, the one thing I wanted to accomplish with my life, perhaps I have: that no child would ever have to suffer like I did because of prejudice, because of homophobia, because they were homosexual.

If only I didn’t have to suffer any more.

I am so very very tired.

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