He was born again, like a baby

dug-out of the torn earth. Tall, imposing

with toothy smile

from Idaho,

but when he grinned

the corners of his mouth held back his arrogance.

He stood in the living room, of my parents’ house

with a bag of fried chicken in his hand

talking

about his troubles…

“That guy at work has a heart problem,” he said. “He needs Jesus. I don’t have a problem with anybody but him. My supervisor said he wants to let me go, so that we can still be friends. Well, that’s ridiculous, because we’ve never hung out.”

I looked at his blue tattoos, snaking up his arms like stories.

He evangelizes on Facebook, like a man desperately seeking an answer to his pain.

He talks about being angry, and how the Lord set him free from that.

I can hear him listening to sermons on his phone.

Then he walked back into the living room.

“My shoulder has been injured for 6 months, until it was prayed for by our pastor. We need to tell him, I’m healed.”

“Do you want some Lima Beans?” My dad asked.

“No. When I was a kid, I went over to a friend’s house and his dad made me eat Lima Beans. I told him I didn’t want to, but he kept forcing me. He was just doing it because he could, and I kept doing it because I was respectful. Then I called my parents to get picked up.”

My mother tried to say something and so did I, but it was like his voice

choked the room

so only it could be heard.

Afterward, I didn’t feel sorry for him, but I understood his pain

because I had worked those jobs.

It’s like being with chimpanzees, who need to show you

who’s boss.

Our guest, was grabbing onto God, totally helpless

It’s a place I’ve been before

and when I watched it disappearing into my rear-view mirror

I breathed

again.

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