February 22, 2017
By , Elk Grove, CA

Kevin was elated. He made up with his son, he made a plan to help out Carson and his girl friend. This was his Day, finally come. These thoughts and more swirled in his head before he woke up. It was a lacsidasical dream that he was brutally ripped out of. Pain. It was brief but sharp, piercing the left part of highest. A mini panic attack enveloped him as the worry of a heart attack was always on his mind. But then it went away just as quickly as it had come. Like it was never there. Still, this wasn't something you could ignore. Alcoholism might have jacked up his liver, but sleeping on a bench did no better for his heart. Time to go to the doctors. The high of reconnecting with his son made the walk to the hospital dreamy and drifty, like he was the first man ever to float on air. If he closed his eyes he could just feel the serenity of when he meditated by the pool. Kevin hadn't been to the hospital since he first got divorced and was appointed to see a psychiatrist. The whole choosing-to-be-homeless bit was suspicious. Strange. Very treatable. So they said, but look where he was now. Doctors were not all right %100 of the time. He doubted they were right half the time. But doctoring makes money. In his past life, pre homelessness, he was an accountant. The walk was long, and he arrived panting and soaking in sweat. "Water?" He asked the first receptionist he came across. They obliged, always happy to help the less fortunate, and he even had healthcare so it wasn't totally pointless. The water was a cure for his thirst. The pain was still dully undercutting his ribs, aching and tearing. But not major. It hurt the way a stubborn child kicking at your ribs would. Enough. He wasn't a crier. A stranger might assume he was fresh from the ocean, sweating. Gushing salt water from every pore. His black hair was sticking to his sideburns, poking into his eyes. He wiped it back and left his forehead slicker and shinier. An elderly woman in the waiting room with him moved to a seat across the room. The receptionist was watching him from the corner of her eyes. He clutched a clipboard of information you have to fill in. To see the doctor. What was his name? Kevin. Arnold? No, that's the narcissist from the Wonder Years. Bacon? Ugh. He couldn't remember his last name. He should've asked Carson to come with him. "Its like what happened to Dr. Bartlett." Someone whispered. They were talking about him. Kevin who couldn't remember his last name reached for his cup but it was empty. He stood up, too fa, evidently. Blackness lined his vision. The pain was back. He trooped towards the desk. "Help me." He said in a desperate way. He grabbed onto the edge of the desk with the drama of a soap opera actress. The pain was back. The pain was there. It was all he felt besides the panic. He slid off the desk edge onto the tile. Someone was saying it was going to be OK. They were going to hook him up to something. He just wanted to go to sleep. He just wanted to go home. He wanted to be home with Carson and his ex wife and drive to work. He don't want to be homeless. He chose to be. That was stupid. Why did he do it? The blackness was all he could see now but he was still awake. He chose to be homeless because he didn't feel worthy to live anywhere. He knew that after her there was nothing left for him. But he didn't want to die like this. There was no bright light, anyway. He couldn't be dying. He must be in a comatose state. Just a bout of dehydration, he told himself. He was right. But he didn't believe himself at the time. How could you trust yourself when you didn't even know your own last name?

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