I’m standing at the top of the stairs.
The top of the stairs at Maria’s two bedroom apartment above the one with the bloodstain. I’m looking down at Fred at the bottom of the stairs.
“Get the FUCK OUT Fred!!”
“Get the fuck out and NEVER come back!”
I really don’t know how I got here. I can’t remember what I just did. I can’t remember anything. My adult self keeps going over and over what I can access of my memory, and I just can’t get it. Standing at the top of the stairs, my head is off in some dream-like state somewhere.
Did I just throw Fred down the stairs? The dream-like memory in my head tells me that I wanted to. The dream-like memory in my head tells me that I intended to. I just don’t know now.
I clearly remember eating Maria’s delicious lunch of beans and rice, tortillas and hot sauce. I clearly remember listening to her tell me the story of how Fred had been using her. How Fred had been lying to her all this time. How he was now threatening her. Threatening to expose her situation (a situation HE had created) if she didn’t continue “to do things” for him. I clearly remember how this information had made me so very hot. Hot with anger.
I really REALLY wanted to kick his ass.
Did I just kick Fred’s ass and throw him down the stairs? I don’t remember. I only remember what I remember NOW. Now I’m standing at the top of the stairs looking at Fred at the bottom. I’m yelling at him to GET THE FUCK OUT! and Maria is in the apartment just behind me.
Maria is standing behind me and I feel good about that. I feel good because I feel like I’m doing something that I decided was a good thing to do. I’m not doing it because I’m uncomfortable with my living situation and so looking to be anywhere but here, like when I left Rochester. I’m not doing it because I’m feeling trapped by a master manipulator or lured by promises of rock and roll adventure, like when I left “The Amazing George Heaton’s gang”, hitchhiked all the way from Enid to Norfolk and followed Fred to Omaha.
I’m doing something because I feel it’s the right thing to do.
I’m in Omaha now and I’m standing at the top of the stairs yelling at Fred to GET THE FUCK OUT! because listening to Maria’s story has me hot with anger at Fred and I want to do something about it. Something good. Something that helps.
My adult self can speculate all I want. I may have been so hot with anger when Fred came home that I jumped him and threw him down the stairs, or I may have simply started yelling and threatening to throw him down the stairs. Fred’s marshal arts expertise my have been all just another one of his lies, or he may have really been able to easily kill me quickly and stealthily, with just a few of his fingers and simply chose not to do so.
Fred may have seen (or felt) my outburst, and realized that the jig was up and this part of his scam was over, or he may have been fully aware and in control of what was happening and I was once again being manipulated by the great master manipulator he may have been. I don’t know.
My memory of this moment is only this…
This moment as I stand at the top of the stairs to the apartment above the one with the bloodstain on the floor, I feel free again.
I feel as free as I did when standing on that road in Oklahoma with my thumb out. Not caring how long it would be before a ride came along. Like that moment, I’m still in survival mode, but it is MY survival mode. MY moment. I truly feel in this moment that I am doing what I think and feel is the right thing to do. What I am choosing to do.
What I am choosing to do in this moment is to put an end to the situation between Fred and Maria. To help Maria “get rid of Fred”.
My adult self can only speculate whether or not I really did put an end to that situation. If what I did in that moment really helped Maria “get rid of Fred”.
This moment is in early February of 1979 and I’ll be gone from Omaha forever by early April. In my mind my nineteen-year-old self believes I put an end to something. My naive young self believes I did something that helped.
My adult self just now is remembering… in THIS moment as I write this, my adult self remembers that before I left Omaha, Maria sought me out (or I ran into her somewhere, I can’t remember which) and she thanked me for what I did. Maria told me that she was enrolled in a jobs program and that her life was now more stable that it had been in many years. She told me that I had indeed helped.
I guess I did.
After the moment is over, I return to my dingy little dungeon of a basement room. The memory of what happened before, now comes back to me. Before I went next door and ended up helping Maria, when I was with “crazy” Allen at the apartment of those dangerous Hell’s Angels.
I realize I have other things to put an end to. How that happens will have to be very different than what just happened, and the story of how it happened will now have to be…
To be continued…