If you missed the first four parts here they are. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
The two words I had been waiting for since all the heartache and stress began a few short weeks ago. It was simple. Two words, 9 letters. All Aboard. I knew at that moment I was going to be home in two short days. I knew I wasn’t going to be stuck in that hell hole forever. I boarded the train. Took my seat. The realization of everything I have went through was going through my head. I was playing the scenarios over and over. I kept thinking of what I could have done differently. Thought after thought, situation after situation. I don’t know if I could’ve done anything at all. My new life was over, but now I get to have a new outlook when entering my old life.
I said this earlier, if you are going to be riding a train, it is kind of important to make new friends on the journey. It breaks up the repetitiveness of sitting there doing the same thing over and over again. The first person I get to meet on my way home, was a mother. I remember her, not for her looks, but for her 1998 Denver Broncos Super Bowl Champions T-shirt. I thought to myself: that is always a great conversation starter. I love finding out the back stories of people. She was on the train to go meet her husband. He was arriving home from the war in Iraq. She was so proud of him. She was going into the story of how they were high school sweethearts. They were the All American Couple. The story that we all dream of. She was thanking God that he was able to return home safely. She got off the train in a small town in Colorado. The best part of meeting her was getting to see her reunite with her husband from the window of the train. She ran into his arms crying. It’s a moment like this that makes you appreciate the small things that life hands down.
I think God started to play a cruel joke on me for the rest of my journey to Kansas City. I pretty much lost my voice. I think I caught some sort of flu or cold from the mission. It was bound to happen with all the germs that come through there daily. It can’t be easy running that place and staying healthy. I think it was God’s way of telling me to actually write this story. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. I am typing away. Not paying attention to anything around me at all. All of a sudden, this elderly man walks up to me. He looks at me and asks where he can get coffee? Not a very difficult question. It is, however, when the guy asking the question is from the Ukraine. He did not communicate in the English language very well at all. We spent a good 5 minutes going back and forth trying to figure out what each other was trying to say. Honestly, if anyone had been paying attention they would have died laughing. I can tell you now, Abbot and Costello would have had nothing on us. Finally, after the help of his wife, a conductor and this hand invention called Google, we were able to show him where to get some coffee. I think I have about had it for this day. Time to get some shut eye. Kansas City bound.
We arrive in the city of Fountains. We don’t really have much time at all before the train for Saint Louis departs. I am just going to randomly call people at 7 in the morning and see if I can wake them up. At least I am not in the Mountain Time Zone anymore. That has to make life a little easier. The call comes to board the train. I swear the walk to the train in Kansas City is one of the longest I have ever been on. I mean, could we get the moving sidewalk like in the Jetsons? I guess not. Simply put, 5 hours away I am going to be in Saint Louis.
I got the privilege of having a seat to myself. It was really nice, not going to lie. I could relax and look out the window. I am getting to see parts of Missouri that doesn’t get seen on a daily basis. Things are going very well. I knew I spoke way too soon. We hit Washington, Missouri. Still an hour and half to about two hours away. Apparently, my stay in the mission made me more tolerable to drunks and drug addicts. A guy gets on the train and makes a B-line for my seat. He sits down right next me. He asked me how I was doing. So far, normal. He then took normal and threw it under the train. The first thing he started telling me, is that he was a lobster farmer in Switzerland. A bank gave him the loan to get that business up and going. I want to know where this guy banks at!!! Maybe, I have a shot at buying some ocean front property in the great state of Kansas. His next story will even leave you scratching your head. He said he went to Arizona. During his stay in the state, he was a drug dealer. Color me Shocked. He would travel to Florida to sell drugs cause he would make a killing. Well, one fine day he found the coupe de grace of all drugs. If you were caught bringing it into Florida, you get the death penalty. He traveled back to Florida with one of these plants and sold it for over a million dollars. I am in the wrong industry. Would you like to know what that plant was? It was a tumbleweed. I really think this guy is tripping on something a police test kit will not recognize or he found the Helen Keller of drug buyers. Helen Keller before she said “water”. The next great tale, is that he told me he played for the 1979 San Diego Chargers. I am thinking that maybe he played without pads. That would explain this next one, or that he smoked that tumbleweed. The final one he told me is that he married a martian. Out of all the things this man told me. I have to say this was the easiest one to believe. Is that kinda weird? I got to hear all these stories, and we arrived at our destination in Saint Louis. I have to say that yes, I make light of what happened, but I want to add something to this. I think a lot of people could take a page from this guy. Not the drug issue, but the fact he was a very kind guy. It’s at least hard to just meet nice people these days.
We get off the train in Saint Louis and I have a mission. That mission is simple. I am going to treat myself to my favorite food. After everything I have been through, I think some hot wings and a Pepsi are in my future. There is no way I am going to eat in that KFC. I don’t want to meet anymore Canadian Amish. I take off on a 7 block walk to one of my favorite places to eat. I know the food sucks, but the atmosphere and their wings are great. I went to Hooters for my little treat. It was nice. A very beautiful day in the Lou. After I pulled my “being a fat ass” moment it was back to the train station. I got a hug from my hooters waitress. Any girl in short orange shorts can give me a hug. I really hope someone takes me up on that. I walk the 7 blocks back. Something was missing. I had both my bags. What could it have been? HOLY SHIT!!! My train ticket is not in my back pocket any more. Cue panic mode. I was freaking out. I take off out the door like a bat out of hell. I have to retrace my steps through downtown Saint Louis. Not an easy task when not panicking. I am shaking, and ignoring texts about how I got to eat at Hooters. I had to eat dinner somewhere. I am almost to Busch Stadium from the Amtrak station when I see my ticket sitting right there on the ground across the street from the stadium. Big sigh of relief.
I sit around in the station for a couple of hours, buy an extra large Pepsi, and board the train home. I am drinking my soda. Everything comes flooding back in my mind. I laugh at somethings and get really depressed at others. It was three hours of reflecting, and I needed to do it. I arrive at the train station in Poplar Bluff Mo. This was my exit. I had to wait for my birth mother to pick me up. She is fashionably late, as usual. I am standing outside at a train station that was creepy. They could seriously film a horror movie outside this thing. The entire time I was waiting for her my butt hole was puckered. She finally shows up and we take off for her house. We are about two miles away from her home when blue lights are flipped on behind us. I swear, this is a way to end this damn thing. We get pulled over cause she was swerving all over the road. He just let us go. We had a good laugh. That could have only happened to us. I get to her house and the first thing I do is hop in the shower. I hadn’t had one since I went in the mission on Friday night. When I arrived it was Tuesday. I know I didn’t smell like roses, that is for sure.
I learned a lot about myself over this journey. If someone tells you they don’t want someone in their life, they are full of shit. We all want someone in our life. We want that person that we can call our best friend. I wasn’t wanting this. I felt like I needed this. I have felt that way for a little over two years. It is one reason my relationships fail as a whole. There is a huge difference between want and need. Rushing relationships aren’t worth it. Try to enjoy the little things in dating. That way you can have stories to tell your kids and grand kids. I haven’t had a date in two months. It has been great taking the time to get to know myself better and taking care of a bigger problem first. I know someone will come along. I am just not too worried about it at this moment. Maybe next time, when I do meet someone, it wont be the “what ifs” or the “I wishes”. It won’t be about the ones that got a way or the one I couldn’t have. The next time I get to talk about someone special in my life, it will be the one.
The journey to New Mexico had ended, but the physical journey was just beginning. I have mentioned my health a couple of times, but have never really went into detail as to what is going on. A couple of days after I returned home I knew that I had to go back to the doctor. It was one of the reasons I knew I had to leave New Mexico. I traveled with a friend of mine to go to the doctor. X-rays are in my future. I am hoping that the news is not worse. For the last two years, I have been battling black out spells. I always have a constant headache. One day it wouldn’t be that bad. The next day, it felt like my temples were in a vice grip. It has not been fun to deal with. I moved back here in August and a doctor out of Memphis finally found out what was causing the problem. I have a knot on the base of my brain stem that is causing all of the problems. In August he told me it could be treated in two ways. Number one was coming every two to four months and having a hole drilled in my head to relieve pressure. The second option was to have surgery. However, with great reward comes an even greater risk. The risk of being paralyzed from the neck down. The numbers he shot me were not good either. There is only a 10 percent chance that the surgery would be successful. I decided to go for the hole drilled in my head. The first time I went for that, he told me about an experimental drug that he thinks could shrink the knot without surgery. I wanted to do anything I could to stop it. I decided to go with the drug. The last treatment I had was right before I left for New Mexico. He thinks the drug was the reason for the seizure. That didn’t turn out to be the case.
Fast forward to now, the doctor comes back in the room telling me that he has some bad news. The knot now has a small hole in it. The experimental meds didn’t do what they should of. I am not even upset about that. I knew the risk. It may not have been the best decision, but it was a feasible option to take care of the problem. He tells me the hole is causing what is inside the knot to flow through my body. That is why I started having the seizures. It now has a chance of bursting. Not a low chance either. The odds are 70% that it could burst within the next two to 5 years. If it does, I will lose my life. A new battle has been waged inside of me. Do I have the Surgery or Not? I am going for a second opinion very soon.
That is where I am at. I don’t regret taking the risk I did for health or love. It happened for a reason. I wouldn’t change one thing.
One of the biggest things I have had to realize in all of this is that my priorities were not straight. I thought it would be better to find someone than taking care of my own health. I always have this weird feeling that I am going through all of this alone. It took me being homeless to see that was not the case. It took a lot to realize what should be important to me. My health is my top priority. I know some people think that is mistake but I know it is what is best for me. I have been depressed to the point of thinking of suicide at times. I even flushed my meds in New Mexico for fear of what I could do. This has not been an easy time. A very important person in my life told me that you make your own happiness. This never rang out so true. Even with everything I am going through. This is the happiest I have been in a long time.
By the grace of God, nothing happens in the immediate future. My work here isn’t done….Life is too short to worry about tomorrow.