IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL OR NEED TO TALK CALL THE NATIONAL LIFELINE
” I was walking through the park the other day, and I saw three homeless people,” Florentina said. “I asked them if they had something to sleep on, two of them said they did, and one said that he didn’t. I told him to wait for me, I went to my apartment, got Andrew’s sleeping bag and gave it to him.”
I gasped! Andrew’s sleeping bag?
I remembered that sleeping bag well. It was a good one and came in handy at many a slumber party.
But what stands out most in my memory is an evening in mid September, when I brought Andrew his sleeping bag at Coral Tower, his NYU dorm.
I was driving Florentina to her newly found apartment, and as I would be driving past Andrew’s dorm on my way home, I called Andrew and asked him if he needed anything from home,
“Can you bring me my sleeping bag please?”
“What do you need a sleeping bag for?”
“It’s handy if someone comes to stay.”
He met me by Duane Reade, on the corner of 14th and 3rd. As I pulled up to the corner, Andrew bounded up to the car and got in. We chatted for half an hour about all sorts of things. We laughed about some of the things we had read on the “Filthy Rich Handbook,” that Andrew had bought and left behind in the bathroom.
He explained to me how the Russian Oligarchs had made their money, and how big Abramovich’s Yacht was.
“It is so big that it can block out the moon,” he explained to me.
“But it isn’t bigger than the QE2, is it?”
“No, but the QE2 carried thousands of people. Abramovich’s is a private Yacht.”
Indeed I saw the point. He laughed at my argument that it takes a great deal of imagination to come up with ideas on what to spend money on.
“Try,” I said to him. “Sit down with a check book and buy everything you want. See what you can come up with.”
“I can think of all sorts of things,” he assured me. But beyond the usual, paying for college, buying a house, a Ferrari, a Ducati Motorbike, a few handmade suits and shoes, a home in Sicily and one in England; it became a bit of an uphill battle after that. Coming up with ways to spend money is not as easy as people think.
“But one can get better at it with practice,” Andrew assured me.
Shortly after that we said goodbye, Andrew disappeared around the corner with his sleeping bag under one arm, and I drove home feeling all warm and happy about the cozy half hour that Andrew and I had spent together. It was the last proper chat that I was to have with my son.
All seemed well, I thought that he was happy… but the clock was ticking and less than two months were left on it…
Tears spilled from my eyes, and Florentina pointed out that Andrew would have been happy that his sleeping bag had been put to good use.
“You know how Andrew cared about the Homeless.”
“I know, we all do,” I said, remembering the times we had volunteered at soup kitchens or made packed lunches and distributed them in the street. “I know that Andrew would be happy knowing that his sleeping bag is keeping someone warm… but I still feel sad,” I said, thinking that I would like to get into that sleeping bag myself, and maybe catch something of my son.
“You should have seen the man’s face when I went back and gave him the sleeping bag,” Florentina continued.
“He was so happy, he wouldn’t stop saying thank you.”
Florentina was right, it was a good thing she had done, and one that Andrew would have done himself, he would have happily given away his sleeping bag to someone in need.
Still, I am heartbroken… not because of the sleeping bag, but because I want Andrew and the longing for him cannot be assuaged.
I love you Tigger, I love you