Catch up with PART FOUR before you read PART FIVE.
I got to the city and headed to Thompson Square Park where Sada had been spending her days. I wont go into any diatribes about this city because there's nothing interesting there. It's all too impersonal and big. I guess I like my filth and degeneracy condensed, I don't know. New York didn't impress me. I met up with Sada and I knew right away that everything was different. Sometimes it's just that simple. There just wasn't anything there and it was okay. We wandered the city for awhile and she told me she was staying across the river with some nice cocaine dealers who offered her a place to stay. Good for her. We wandered and saw colorfully interesting people, all oblivious to everything around them. We broke into a door in an alley that we thought might make a good squat and it happened to be the downstairs to a bar. All this liquor was just there behind a chicken wire cage. I emptied my pack of the unimportant stuff like clothes and food and loaded it with whiskey.
I'm sorry if it seems like I'm being intentionally vague about New York, but to be totally honest I only remember it in fractured segments. I either died or came close to it that night and everything directly before it is pretty fuzzy.
I drank, I got drunk. I was a stumbling mess. Sada told me nobody was allowed to stay with her on account of the cocaine dealing. She told me I could stay in the East River Park and that she'd see me the next day. I recall walking around the park and running into some other travelling kids. It turns out they were a train gang out of West Virginia called Back Alley Ruckus. Fucking brutes. They guy who seemed to be the leader talked with me for a while and I became drunk sober. A state you can come to while drunk when a situation becomes incredibly tense. He asked if I'd ever been to prison. I told him I'd been locked up a good deal. He asked if I ran with the Aryan Nation. I told him that I look out for myself. He asked if I was a good boxer. I told him, 'fair.' He asked if I could take 'him', and pointed to a blonde-haired hulk and I didn't say anything. Before I knew it, I was in a fight.
We had each other by the throat and we were both punching, hammering, the other's face. It went on for what seemed like forever, just punching away at each other with little scuffle or movement. If left alone he would have surely won. He outweighed me and stood taller, his pain tolerance the same as mine. It wasn't left that way, though. They descended on me like a pack of feral dogs kicking and punching. It was like being tossed around in an ocean wave - moments of clarity only to be pushed back under where everything gets hazy. Then there was nothing. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
I usually refer to this as 'going to my happy place' or being knocked out, but it wasn't a sleep. It was a nothing. Just no goddamn way to explain it. Nothing. I probably was just knocked out, who knows? I couldn't have been all the way dead because I'm writing about this but it wasn't anything I'd experienced. Not the unrememberance of overdose or the hazy in-out of unconsciousness. No floating, no sense of weightlessness. There was no color, no emotion, no wonder, but I remember it. Does that make sense? I didn't find gods or demons, nor answers to questions. I just all of a sudden heard a girls voice say, "Leave him alone, he's dead already."
I heard that and all the devils inside me responded. Not me, not here, not at the hands of monsters like me, made like me, smelling like me. No fucking way. I was awake and with it and got up. I got to the big fence separating the park and the freeway when they noticed me and returned, beating me into unconsciousness vicious knees an kicks. I woke up again sitting on the sidewalk with blood pouring between my feet in a river. It was like a never-ending faucet and a kid sat my pack next to me and told me that someone called an ambulance.
I don't remember anything until the next day. I woke up in Bellevue feeling like I'd been hit by a train. When I did move, it was in a sort of dried blood everywhere crackling sort of way that busy doctors leave you in when they believe it's your own fault. Medical tape plastered everywhere ripping my hair out wherever it was stuck. The nurse came in and told me that six of my ribs were broken, as was my nose and cheeks. My ear was ripped along with my scalp.
Nobody offered me a mirror, but I could feel every place on my face distended and swollen. I could see my cheeks and lips from the swelling. I was, as they say, a fucking mess. I was informed that they didn't have enough bed space to keep me, but I could stay until I felt that I could walk without falling. They had cut off my clothes and offered me donated clothes that were too big even for my swollen body. There's no revelation here, it's a clear case of you win some, you lose some. Who could I even be mad at? I'd left people in the same condition. Sometimes dogs bite each others' faces.
The pain wasn't the worst but I was far from okay. I was given a prescription of Ibuprofen to be picked up for free from the hospital's pharmacy. After looking for what seemed like forever I gave up. My chest felt like fire and I had to drag my pack. I walked outside and rolled a cigarette and gently sat down. People walked around me like I was the elephant man. I had to have looked like him, all lumpy but with dried and caked blood to boot. Fuck'em. I just sat and smoked. I made the 15 blocks back to Thompkins Square Park. I met up with a cold and distant Sada.
I tried to see it out, sleeping on the park bench trying to heal. I couldn't do it. After the third day I called my grandparents. I just couldn't move. It took me 20 minutes to sit up. Walking was almost impossible, the pain had quadrupled now that it had all set in. I couldn't tough it out and it made me angry. I called my grandfather and he just said, "Where are you?" I told him and he didn't sound exasperated. He just said, "I'm coming to get you." He and my grandmother drove to New York City, came through the traffic and the picked me up. No questions. He just came and got me and didn't question it. I'm crying right now and I can't explain the enormity of that action. His saving me. His unwavering love for me. I crawled in to the van and I slept all the way back to Michigan. My uncle has never forgiven me for having my grandfather come get me in that city. I don't blame him.
My grandfather is the bravest man I know.