A Long Story

I have this story that’s been itching to get out of me for a while, I’m really not sure why, so I thought I’d share it here. It’s obviously pretty long and it’s probably pretty boring but it is what it is. It’s not really venting but I don’t need responses so… Here we go.

One day, about 15 years ago, I was standing outside of my car with the door open. I’d just gotten home from work and I was listening to the end of a song before I went inside. This lady (who was somewhere around her early 50’s) comes hobbling up the alleyway and sees me. She walks over to me and asks me if she could use my cell phone, said she needed to call her husband. I thought about it for a few seconds. What if she stole my phone? I didn’t know this lady. I’d never seen her before. Could I trust her?

But in the end, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter just because of… well, me. (If you understand, then you understand; if you don’t, that’s ok.) The thing was, it was just a phone. If she was faking the limp and tried to take it, I would have just let her. Phones are replaceable. If it was gone, and I had to get another number, yeah, that would suck. It would be inconvenient. But it’s still just a phone. So I gave it to her. And spent the next ten or so minutes waiting while she paced the alley and talked to her husband. She gave the phone back when she was done and thanked me. She said they only had one cell phone and her husband had it on him. They didn’t have a home phone. She informed me she was one of my neighbors and that they lived three houses up from me and her name was Vi before she moved on to do whatever was next in her agenda. I’d lived there for several years prior to this and never seen her or her husband before this so I don’t know how long they lived there before we met. The second time I saw her was about a week later. She was walking up the alley again and I was at my car again. She just nodded at me and kept hobbling on. I met her partner, Saul, at some point during that week.

My third meeting with her was a few weeks later, in my home. Literally in my home. I was inside doing something and there was a knock at the back door. I went to the door and opened it. This lady who I’d let borrow my phone comes in, drunk as hell, and falls into me, crying hysterically. It took a little while for me to get the gist of what she was saying. Basically, she needed to have surgery. The one side of her hip was two inches lower than the other and she was in constant pain. She was convinced the doctors didn’t want to help her. She said they liked to watch her in pain and refused to do surgery because they wanted to see her suffer. She also said they told her she had to stop drinking to get the surgery and she told them she wouldn’t stop until it was done. So I asked her why she drinks. And she said to help dull the pain because the doctors wouldn’t help her get rid of the pain. So I pointed out to her that the drinking wasn’t helping if she was still in enormous pain. Then I told her why the doctors couldn’t operate on her while she was drinking, and told her they didn’t want to take the chance that she would die during surgery. I ended up talking to her for about an hour, with her hanging on me the whole time. I didn’t know how much of what I said was going to get through to her. I figured she probably wouldn’t remember a thing I said to her but… Even if she didn’t remember a word, she was still a person and she was still in enormous pain. The least I could do was listen.

I took her home when she was ready to leave. I didn’t trust that she would get there by herself. It took about 45 minutes to go three houses down. Yes. Forty-five minutes. She kept stumbling and falling into me. She stopped every few feet and would start bawling again. I was pretty much holding her up the whole way. If she fell, I didn’t know if I could get her back up. There was no one else around to help. There wasn’t one other person who went through the alley during the time I was helping her to get home.

She lived in a second floor apartment so when we finally made it to her house I had to take her up a flight of steps. Only one side of the steps had a railing and I was on the side where it wasn’t. A few times she almost pushed me off. I didn’t think either of us were going to make it up the steps. But we did. I took her in and Saul was right there with his back turned to the door. He turned around and when he saw us he was shocked. He didn’t even know she left. He thought she was still in the bedroom, sleeping it off. She didn’t sober up at all during the time I was with her. She was as drunk when I dropped her off at home as she was when she came barreling into my house almost two hours prior.

I left and didn’t really see much of her for the next several months. I would occasionally see her walking through the alley and she would wave to me but other than that there was really no contact and there was a couple of months I didn’t see her at all. I did talk to Saul though. Neither of them had a license and they didn’t have family to help. Her family didn’t like him so they shunned both of them and he had no family but her. So I would take him places sometimes and we’d talk a little bit. He was a veteran (Vietnam I believe) and also drunk a lot, although I don’t think he ever got as wasted as Vi. If he did, he was really good at hiding it. They had a dog named Odie.

About five or six months after the episode with Vi, she came hobbling up to me, using a walker, and told me she was finally able to get the surgery on her hip and she felt so much better. She said she stopped drinking because of what I told her. She told me I was the only reason she was able to get better. After that, Saul said that to me too, that the only reason she even got sober so she could get the surgery was because of me. He said she told him everything I said to her and that’s why she stopped drinking, because of the things I said. They both spent so long telling me that they were grateful to me for that.

I’m not bragging here about what a great person I am. Most of the time I think I’m quite a bit lower than mediocre as a human with a bit of just average mixed in there. I never understood why they gave me credit for it. I still don’t understand why they gave me the credit for her being able to get the surgery and I realize at this point I never will understand it. I don’t remember everything I said to her anymore, and I don’t feel like I really did anything to help her. Yeah, I talked to her but she obviously needed to talk to someone about it, and she chose me. I highly doubt I said anything that the doctors didn’t say. She said they told her she needed to quit drinking for the surgery. I didn’t help her during the quitting process. She had to do that on her own. And she was the only one who could decide to do that for herself. I didn’t take her to the hospital to get the surgery. I didn’t help her to get her strength back afterwards. I just talked to her for a short time (though as someone who dislikes being touched and unconsciously recoils at the smallest touch, it felt like days instead of a couple of hours.)

Over the next several years, things went on basically the same way. After Vi healed she started drinking again. I would see her a couple of times a month and she would talk to me. Saul would talk to me a couple of times a week when he saw me outside and occasionally I would take him places to get stuff he needed.

One day Saul came up to me and asked me to take a picture of him and Odie together so he could give it as a gift to Vi. I agreed but then immediately forgot about it. I remembered about a week later when I saw him walking somewhere and was ashamed of myself for forgetting to do something as easy as taking a picture. (It was easy for me, at least.) I made plans with him. Basically he just wanted it done so we took some pictures immediately with my tablet and I gave him a copy printed on photo paper the same day. Vi came up to me the next day and told me how much she loved it.

Three weeks later, Saul died. I don’t know what exactly caused his death but I think he knew it was coming and that’s why he wanted me to take his picture. It was a memento for his wife, when he would no longer be there. It ended up being a memento for myself and my parents, too. My mom hung a copy up on her fridge and it was there for years afterwards. I still have the pictures on the old tablet that I took it on.

I don’t really know what happened to Vi. She disappeared soon after that. I like to think her family finally made up with her and is helping her. I miss Saul and Odie sometimes. Saul had a beautiful soul and was just trying his best to take care of his little family, and Odie… He was the best boy ever.


Anyway, that’s my story. Sorry if it was really boring and if you got to this point, thank you for reading.

Every single person who is in this forum and in this network is a beautiful person. You all deserve to feel heard and to feel loved and if you don’t feel that, I hope one day soon you do. :heart:

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