My Story, Yours Too.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Camp Fire, One Year Later and Joey

My Dears,
   I now bring you the finale to my story, Good Lies. It started here, with part 2 here. Onto part 3. I've altered it slightly and left out episodes before I met Joseph. If anyone would like the full 5-page story, feel free to message me here or at Rawknrobyn@aol.com. I'll be happy to forward. 

   Please be good to yourselves, and stay safe. 
   In case of emergency: Keep faith and a stash of chocolate.
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   I studied my laptop screen, finding and recording numbers for the few local emergency rooms. My tears moved faster than the rest of me. Damnit, Joseph. I was supposed to save you. I can’t do that if you went and dropped dead on me. 
 

   Four nervous hours passed before my phone rang.
   Phew. His number. “Joseph?”

   “Yeah, it’s me, Robyn. It wasn’t a heart attack. They said it was just anxiety.”
   “Oh thank goodness, Joseph.”
   “Yeah. Hey, you can call me Joey, by the way.”
   “I was so worried about you, Joey.”
   “Yeah I’m sorry.”
   “No, don’t be sorry. I’m just so glad you’re okay. Where are you now?”
   We proceeded to make plans for the next day.
   

   I don’t remember our discourse as much as I do the sense of full-fledged genuine humanness. There were no layers of complication, no unspoken agendas, no shyness or bravado, no artificial pretenses or power-plays – just two human beings, being human together.
   Practically speaking, I didn’t help much at all. In fact, Joey spoke competently to FEMA and DMV representatives. He could’ve gotten there on his own or with someone else. He’d still have to wait weeks for a new license plus word from FEMA.
   “Someday, I’ve gotta write my story,” he shared en route back.
   “That’s great. Writing’s my thing, Joey. I’ll help you with that.”
   “Heck yeah. You can publish it for me.”
   “I will.” I nodded. “I’m gonna publish your story.” (Note: If you’re reading this, I told the truth. If you’re not reading this, we’re both liars.)
   “Perfect,” he grinned.
   Back at the Fairgrounds, we stepped out of the car.
   “Come over here so I can give you a hug,” he told me.
   Joey and I exchanged a warm, grateful hug. “You keep fighting Robyn. I’ll never forget you.”
   “Much better days are ahead, Joey. You’re very strong and brave. I’ll be cheering for you all the way.”
   He nodded. “We’ll stay in touch.”
   At that, Joey imparted a military style salute.

--
  One year since the Camp Fire, sadness and trauma feel as fresh and surreal as ever.
   I didn’t save lives.
   I’ve luxuriated in safety and security. My path’s been cushioned in ways that I’ve routinely taken for granted.
   Still, I did hold the world within view for one man who couldn’t see a thing. How I did that, I don’t know. I was simply a good enough person, who told some good enough lies.

11 comments:

  1. You made a difference to one person - sometimes that's all that matters.

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  2. Don't downplay your role Robyn. You truly touched some lives, kept us all in the loop, and being a GOOD person counts for a lot.

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  3. He might've done all that on his own, but he needed to know someone cared, which you did.

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  4. I am still left wondering what happened to Joey.

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  5. Gosh, I love you, my dears. I appreciate your feedback.
    Bathwater, I know. I'm still somewhat in wonder. I can tell you that he went to a program (including housing) that we were both excited about -- several months ago. That's a very good thing. I haven't heard from him since, but I'm keeping fingers crossed that he got a chance for a new start and is still on the path of creating a new and improved life.

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  6. Have you ever had a person do you a kindness that forever, especially when you have a dark day, reminds you there is good in this world and makes your heart lift a little? That's what you did for Joey and that's no small thing.

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    1. Gosh darnit, my social worker author friend, you sure know what to say to make a gal tear up (in a special way). Much gratitude.

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  7. All it takes is helping one and you never know how it can spur out from there

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    1. That's true. In this story, I quote the Talmud: "Save a life and you will save the world." You expressed this sentiment too. Thanks, Pat.

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  8. I love a story with a happy ending! Especially if it's well written, like this one.

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  9. I'm so glad he found, with your help, the next steps to take to get back to a normal life. Thank you for helping him and others. You make the world a better place by shining your light and just being you.

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