The Tabled Scraps

I’m hungry. Always. I’m insatiable.

The oldest feeling I have is the same as the freshest in my soul. There has to be more. I was raised by two unemployed parents, they’ve never worked a day in my life. The youngest of four boys, raised on food stamps and soup-kitchen leftovers. Wearing the hand-me-downs that would finally make their way over to me. Keeping roaches as pets. There had to be more.

Learning came easy to me. Like osmosis, the words that poured out of my teacher’s mouth would seep into my subconscious while I sat around doodling in my notebook. Angry teacher after angry teacher would be baffled by my ability to ace the tests when I seemed not to care at all. I’m thankful for those angry teachers, who at times resorted to physical violence, for trying to get through to the class clown who actually had potential. They worked hard to encourage me. Unfortunately, my parents saw no value in intelligence. “A true man earns his livelihood by sweating,” my mother would say. I was actively encouraged to drop out of school and get a job, but I wanted more.

I moved away and started another life. Alone. Since then I’ve met many people and I’ve tried to find a place to lay my head. A place to feel at home. The adjustment to this new life has not been easy. I’m often misunderstood, understandably so. I don’t act like the others. I’m not close to my family; though I love them dearly, I’ve not seen them for fifteen years. I challenge authority. I have trouble trusting people. I basically just don’t play well with others. It’s a learned condition, regrettably.

It’s not often I meet someone who captures my mind. Someone who appears as enigmatic as myself, while not outwardly showing any signs of insanity. It happens even less that I find someone like that who feels the same towards me. When it happens though, I start the clock. I know it’s only a matter of time before one of us digs too deep and finds something we don’t like, or something that scares us. Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it takes years, but it’s inevitable. The trick is to absorb as much of this other person as possible until that horrid moment arrives, giving as much of myself as possible in return. To satisfy this other being whom I’ve been fortunate enough to meet. This fountain of experiences. To appreciate every second that I’m able to feel the current flowing through my fingertips, because when it’s over the absence will seem unbearable. I’ll want more.

The good news, perhaps, is that I’m painfully aware of the scarcity of these kindred souls. This knowledge is why I focus on being a source of deep joy when we’re reunited. I appreciate the union. I cherish the moments. I give as much of myself as I can. This tethering of souls exponentially increases the capacity to give; we overflow with love, compassion, generosity, and greatness. It’s a beautiful thing; this saturation of feelings, this tidal wave of hope.

When it does happen, that’s when I finally get to know more.