JR seemed in perpetual search for a place that he could call home and
people to count him as one of their own. At the time, he was out of a
job – but he supplemented his meager income with odd jobs, eking out
an income for his brother and himself.
When I met him, I thought to myself – here is a vital young man – sure
he has invisible crutches, but he seemed capable of standing on his
own two feet if he set his mind to it.
In this young man I saw a strong yearning– which alternately moved me
and frustrated me. Because I recognized it for what it was – somewhere
deep within him, like in all of us, there is a reservoir of feelings
that has almost gone dry from not being filled by others.
In a sense, he is thirsting for love – but, like the man who is lost
in the middle of the desert, he is going to die of it unless he finds
an oasis in a vast land of despair. Or wakes up from his delirium and
stops chasing mirages.
Charismatic and fiercely loyal, Jr was always in trouble – or headed
for one. He surrounded himself with friends – his gang – who were
there, I felt, to make up for what he lacked – a family of his own.
He still believes in a concept called " Father", something I learned a
long time ago to cast away – like the belief in Santa Claus, which did
not survive my childhood.
I learned early on that ' Father ' will always remain just a word to
me. And so I set it all aside – together with whatever desire I had
for one. For me, there was no use trying to crave what you could never
have. That is, until I became one.
And realized what I lost a long time ago when you turned your back on
me and walked away. Forever.
In spending with Jr and being around someone so open about his
feelings, I came face to face with the reality of what I – and others
like us - confront in their everyday lives. In my case, I had
squashed those feelings that grips him now, until they no longer
exerted any influence on me. But seeing it in him provoked me to think
about our situation.
How can you pin your hopes on someone who abandoned you? How can you
love someone who loved himself more than you? And, finally, how can
you hold on to this desire to be with someone who may not show the
What Jr has been through – and what is going on in his life now – at
least, in my mind, is still potentially alterable if he first accepts
the reality of his situation.
He is searching for something that others seem incapable of giving him
– unconditional love – from people who impose conditions on their love
for him. Once he gets past that, then he will be within sight of the
road to recovery and eventually find the will to stand on his own.
More than anything, he spends time with his gang. In each other, they
find solace, even as their own preoccupations veer toward the
dangerous or the absurd.
JR I always on the brink of one disaster or another – and usually,
the source of the trouble often comes from the people who are supposed
to love and take care of him – his friends and adoptive family—this is
the tragic place where fate has placed him.
But beneath the tough exterior is something tender – a yearning to be
cared for and be loved, mixed in with a great capacity for giving of
himself to others. In the end, that could also be what saves him –
if he can lay his demons to rest.