I met him busking on a street corner, hustling for a meal and a place to bed down for the night. Something about him caught my eye. He was scruffy—left eye clearly indicated he had been in a recent skirmish. That only added to his appeal. Everyone likes a bad boy.
I left him there on the corner but he followed me home. He wouldn’t give me his name. As wide as he was tall, sporting what was clearly a homemade haircut and that one bad eye—he made me think of John Wayne, so I called him Wayne. When we got to my house I gave pause to what was about to occur. I knew the danger but I asked him inside and I gave him that meal anyway. His soft brown eyes said everything but he still didn’t speak.
We went to bed that evening with no words between us. He was exhausted—too exhausted for the shower he so clearly needed. I let him sleep in my bed but he stayed on top of the covers. Still, he offered me comfort.
The next day we went for a walk. We ended up back at his corner. Two young girls approached and said they knew Wayne. Only they didn’t call him Wayne, they called him Bobo. They said they knew where he lived and took us there. It was only two houses away.
The girls rang the doorbell and a tiny girl answered the door. “Bobo’s home!” came a squeal from the other side and then I heard chaos—dogs barking, people yelling, another child with special needs appeared. At that Wayne edged his way through the partially opened door and never looked back.
It was then I realized he had used me for one night of respite to recharge and reinvigorate for his full time job as a beloved pet.
Wayne. I will never forget our one night together.
[Cue music: Chicago, You’re the Inspiration, or any number of Journey, Bread or Michael Bolton songs]