Warning: Rated "R" for adult themes.
Dan had had a lot of sex and was in and out of rehabs for different things. He was tall and thin, with a big funny underbite like a bulldog.
He made sport of making his Christian friends uncomfortable. He could see right through their rote attempts at evangelism. His mom had been a pastor, but had become a pagan priestess before she died. He wore death metal t-shirts, and had a pentagram tattoo on his forearm. He walked around with a smirk because he liked pissing off all the straighties.
Tonight he found himself wrapped up in a woman’s tattooed arms arms and artificial breasts. He hadn't expected tonight to go like this but she lived above the strip joint where he met her, his friends could catch an Uber home, and he had just sold an old mattress which left him with an extra $50 in his pocket. Actually maybe he had kind of planned this.
He was rolling away from her when she blurted, "Why were you crying?..." She waited a moment and recanted. "I'm sorry. That's your business. Sorry."
Dan turned over and looked at her, propped up on his elbow.
He took a deep breath and the lip of his protruding jaw wavered slightly.
"I, uh... I just broke up with the first girl that really loved me."
"And you wanted to be held again?"
He scowled at how predictable and weak he was. "You know what's weird though? I cry more and more every day, not less. It's been like two months."
"Hmmm.” She felt compassion for him. “Have things been quiet at your house?"
"Huh," he marveled at her insight. "Well, my ten year old daughter has been with her mother for the past month because I've been a little erradic—Different woman, by the way. Oh yeah and my TV broke, my laptop died and my phone plan ran out today. All at the same time. God hates me."
"Yeah, it's when things get real quiet—and I've run out of pills—that I cry. I think it‘s for my dad—he died last year."
"My mom died too." He said. "But I never really cried for her."
She nodded as if things were making more sense. "What was her name?"
"That's my name."
"I know. You told me."
She reached for him. He tried to pull away, and then he stopped. Her touch felt good. Her warm hand rested on his shoulder.
His face contorted. She drew closer to him and wrapped her arm around his back. He melted into tears and then sobbed lightly. She whispered, "It's okay. It's okay. It's okay."
After he had calmed she said, "I don't know if this is the drugs talking or something, but I just saw the weirdest thing in my mind. It was like this beating heart that had years of bandaids over one spot on it. And the whole stack just got ripped off and there was this big, tender, empty hole Underneath."
He waited on her to continue.
"Then this guy came with needle and thread, like a doctor but he wasn't wearing gloves. He was waiting on you for something."
Dan asked, "What?"
"I don't know."
They thought for a long time. Then Dan said, "I haven't really cried since I was a kid."
"Maybe you've covered over a lot of hurt with other things."
He was silent.
He nodded as he thought about his messy life. "Was there anything else about the man?" He asked.
She said, "Not really. I guess he was sad. Like a lot of bad things had happened to him or something. The words that are popping into my head for some reason are 'a man well acquainted with sorrow.' I don't know where that came from.
He replied, "That’s Isaiah 53."