Harsh words and regrets

By David WilliamsBy David Williams

He was the town’s Otis, only this wasn’t Mayberry and reality wasn’t nearly as funny in that lighthearted way. 

All the warning he should have heeded, he did not. Instead, he tarried long at the wine glass, and every other glass, for that matter. He drank more than just enough for his stomach sake, even though drinking cost him in more ways than one, as it often does. 

He lost jobs and his reputation suffered, as did his relationships with loved ones. Try as he might (and he did), but time and time again he found himself seeking that which harmed him and his loved ones the most. Sometimes you would find him staring at the bottom of an empty glass, as if something good and wise was written there. 

And so it continued for as long as anyone cared to remember.

One fateful day, he found himself stumbling downtown. To him, it was a day like any other day. He was drunk as usual when his paths crossed with a group of young boys playing basketball. In his state, he hardly even noticed them, but they noticed him. 

He was scarcely out of hearing range when the jokes and laughter started. The boys laughed almost as hard as they played basketball. When one joke died, another took its place, and the laughter start all over again. 

Between the laughter and back slapping, one boy failed to find the humor in his peer’s jokes. He slowly pushed himself off the wall and walked away. Roy noticed and asked his friend about it. 

“Why, that drunk is his dad,” he explained. 

Now it was Roy’s turn to sober up. He saw himself without a mirror and he did not like what he saw. The pained look on that young man’s face made Roy ashamed. Not only had he judged a man; he did not know he had caused his son even more shame. 

There are times when you find yourself in places in which you should not be, doing things you should not do.

For Roy, this was one of those times. He desperately wanted to take back the jokes and the laughter. He did not want to add insult to injury, but he had. He couldn’t unblow the dandelion. His words had ridden the wind, and without the aid of a bird, they had found a home. 

Roy was only a teenager when the above episode happened. He now is 60, but that event marked his life and put his on a path to have empathy for his fellow man and to not judge anyone before the time.

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