The Time Between The Ends
I don't know if I'll be able to write this...it's a painful story. Sad & lonely from the beginning to the very end.
This is Ray Broussard, a full blooded Cajun I met in St. Martinsville, Louisiana, sometime around 1985. I had wound up in that tiny town on an Old Crow whim. $11.00 on the Greyhound from New Orleans and there I was, 8am & so hung over my tongue was the size of a sausage. I had a small tape deck that played Patsy Cline on a continuous loop while I was reading "A Piece of My Heart" by Richard Ford. I carried the sadness that only an alcoholic at 16 can.
Ray was the handyman at the Sugarland Motel, a long defunct motor court that was lost to the swamp when they built the Interstate 20 years before.
He lived in a small shack in the back & spent his days fixing a rusted swing set kids would never again use. I think both of us identified with the mold and the rot, and we became friends. We sat in his shack and drank, as the grey rain threatened to take what it wanted.
I stayed for a week or so, I'm sure my liver still bares the scars, but then as all tourists do, I went home.
Ray was good about staying in touch, writing me every few months, I however was not.
3 years later I got a midnight call from the corner in Lafayette, Ray had drunk himself to death, all alone with nothing in his wallet but my name, address and number.