Sunday, September 26, 2010

Street William

William came in the bookstore yesterday and the girls called me to the front because he requested, "You know, her." As I greet him, he's holding up an application for Amerigos and asks me to help him fill it out. I take the pen from his hand, thinking we'll never get through this application, and lead him over to the rosary display case and ask him his last name. I fill in the answer and he takes the pen from my hand. He writes his full name and informs me that he is junior. "Where should I put that?" "After William." So he continues. He can read and write and SOMEHOW HE HAS A DRIVER'S LICENSE. I'm thinking that all is normal until I comment that I didn't know he could drive and he goes on his run, "ATV's, SUV's, motorcycles, bicycles...do you know anyone with a truck for sale or a bicycle or a motorcycle?" I have to tell him to focus on the application. We are starting to get busy and the girls interrupt us several times to ask questions and William loses focus easily. I'm wondering why I am doing this when I know he will not get the job and yet, I stay with him because he wants to accomplish the task. He has finished high school and one year of Bible college. I wonder when things went wrong and what happened. He asks about the meaning of temporary and writes down the words busboy and dishwasher. No to drugs or arrests. He lists three references. We finish and he signs his name and I tell him it's time for him to go give the application to the person at Amerigo's. He shakes my hand and I hand him his bag with his box of moon pies then he proceeds to shake the hands of everyone standing at the front register, one woman twice and pops her in the arm like slug-a-bug. I have to get him to the door. I'm now worried I've done the wrong thing helping him fill that out, giving him hope. We walk outside and I try to move him in the right direction but he heads down West End the opposite way from Amerigos. I was glad to know more about the big guy, to spend a little time, to give him just a few minutes (well, many minutes). One day he waves a cane at me and speaks oddly and the next day he shares information of a normal life with parents and a home address and phone number and an education and I wonder what turned him and what might just turn him back around. I'm guessing we will probably do this again some day. God love William and bless all who care for him up and down our street and in his neighborhood.

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