Saturday, April 14, 2012

m is for motel

Rudy lived in a motel room. Long ago. With a friend. It was all they could afford. Before that, when I had first met him, he lived with a group of friends, about 4 of them, in an apartment; squashed together, making ends meet. Until the day the main guy, the one who's name was on the lease needed all the guys to move out so his girlfriend could move in. Rudy and his buddy had only one option. The ability to pay a weekly fee at a local dive of a motel. So when he moved, I simply followed his trail, meeting him at room number 19, in the midst of what looked to be a place for daily use, for various reasons. Yikes! But, I wasn't about to complain. At least he had somewhere to go each night at the end of his working minimum wage pay days. Better than nothing.

It was around the holidays when he landed in that particular place. Thanksgiving. Christmas. But he made due. Stoically. He seemed to be getting thinner, not eating much. Spending his money on the weekly rate instead. I remember walking into the room once and finding a loaf of cheap white bread and mayonnaise. That was breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My heart fell. To the bottom of my feet. He called me once. Asking if I could bring him something to eat. That he was so hungry. I brought hot soup and sandwiches.

Once, a homemade holiday meal was being prepared back home. I invited Rudy to join us. At first he didn't want to. Was embarrassed. Both because of his English skills. Them being a work in progress. And because he had never met anyone in my family before. He wasn't sure it was such a great idea. Under the circumstances.

I ensured him I had a nice family, and that he would be fine. That I would not leave his side. Which might have made him feel uncomfortable.

I picked him up. In my yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Drove north, back to my parents home. The place I was still living, at the time. We had a nice evening. I watched Rudy eat, fill his hunger pangs with warm, homemade food, and enjoyed the fact that he took great strides in conversing with my family members, regardless that he was a bit self conscious about his language skills.

Later that night, I returned him to his motel room, arms filled with leftover food, and a kiss on his cheek.

Those were difficult days. A young man, trying desperately to achieve the American Dream. Or really, just trying to survive. Feeling like it was simply impossible. During those long ago not so holly days.

1 comment:

  1. Wowee. That man sure knows how to work hard. Talk about dedication! How long until he moved out? Now, that's a post I want to read!

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