Before Lark

So these were the two turbines that sprang to life within him:
He wanted to give things to people to help them
and he didn’t want to harm any of them.
Away from both of these cultural force
sought to drive him, with his father’s complicity with
and his mother’s submission to them.

A brisk November day, arriving home from school:
“Where’s your coat?” “I gave it to Lorraine” or
“I gave it to Mickey” to which, “What?? Why?!”
Because they were cold. “Weren’t you cold?”
Not as cold as they were, and so forth.

Of course he didn’t understand that it wasn’t
his own coat he was giving away, but his
parents’ coat that they wanted him to use,
because if he didn’t have a coat they would
buy one for him, no matter how many
he gave away. But, in general, he learned not to
do this any more, except when he was older
one time in Wyoming in the late fall
when he gave his jacket to a guy who told him
he was a survivalist and knew how to survive
in the cold because Rhosonny realized that this guy
may know how to survive, but he couldn’t handle the
cold and didn’t know enough to dig a little hole,
light a fire in it, fill it with rocks until they glowed
like coals, bury the pit, and sleep on it — so he
let him use his jacket for the night, which wasn’t
really very generous because it was so thin
that it hardly mattered whether or not you wore it.

And, you know, all the stuff about, “you’re supposed
to defend yourself. If they start a fight with you,
you have to hit them back and try to hurt them
enough that they will stop trying to hurt you,
otherwise they’ll walk all over you. Especially you.

So these two things were at war at all times with
the rest of his world.
Well, that and his selfish desires. And his fears.

Even now he felt these things pulling him apart.
Then his father left for good. He told his mother,
“I’m going to hitchhike around. If you try to stop me
I’ll just fight it as hard as I can, and try to get
as far away as possible. If you let me go, I won’t
stay away long and I’ll come back home.”
She gave him $40. He was 15.

He left with an American-born Danish guy
and said guy’s closest friend. He was equally distant
and equally close with both of them.
They left heading North on 101 from
Thousand Oaks, with no destination.

Somehow they wound up in Winnemucca, NV
A very drunk, slovenly middle-aged
woman started putting the moves on him.
He didn’t mind, but his friends were laughing at him.
Besides, she wouldn’t come right out
and say what she wanted, so he broke with his
friends and with her and started hitchhiking west alone
along I-80 from the western edge of Winnemucca.

In San Francisco, where he got dropped off at night
he went into the Pickwick Hotel just to see how
much it would cost, then spent the night there.
It was his first time in a hotel by himself.

He figured that he had just enough money left
to buy a ticket from San Francisco to Weed
on a Greyhound bus. He’d heard that Weed was
a cool place. He got on the bus but didn’t show his
ticket because nobody asked him to.
Late that night Weed came and went without the bus
stopping there. He didn’t know what to do, so he
just stayed on the bus. At dawn
he was walking in downtown Portland.
He didn’t have as much sense as when he was
in first grade in Alamogordo, New Mexico,
walking home from school and a man
standing at the edge of the sidewalk leaning on his car
said, “your father asked me to give you a ride home.”
He hadn’t believed him. “What’s my father’s name?”
The guy didn’t know. He’d made a rapid escape and
wasn’t followed, so far as he knew, but he’d never
looked behind him. In later years his mother told him
they had arrested the man, who was a known pedophile,
because Rhosonny told them all about it, including his license
plate number — if he saw numbers he remembered them.

A handsome black man in his early 30’s
synchronized his stride along beside him
very neatly, very conventionally dressed.
Chicken hawk: “How’s it going, man? Long night in a bus?”
“You must be tired and hungry.”
“Well, yes, as a matter of fact I am.”
“You could come over to my place.
We can have some eggs
and you can take a nap.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t want to impose on you.”
“No imposition at all.”
Grateful, “Thank you very much.”

After they ate, the man whipped out a joint:
do you smoke? Very nice. Friendly guy.
“Feel free to sleep naked and be comfortable.”
He always slept naked, so this made him feel at home.
Rhosonny climbed in the bed and fell into a deep sleep.

The man pressing his cock against his ass woke him up.
He was pretty groggy and the man held him very firmly
and started slowly pressing his cock into Rhosonny’s ass.
It didn’t hurt, though it was somewhat uncomfortable.
The guy had used some kind of lubricant and Rhossony
found that if he relaxed there was less discomfort.
He decided that rather than get into a fight
he’d just let him finish and then he would leave.

On the bus back (the man gave him bus fare)
to San Francisco he felt bad about himself,
a deep sadness and non-verbal dullness. It wasn’t
that he attacked himself and called himself names,
or worried about what it meant to other people.
It wasn’t like that. There was an emptiness.
The road itself seemed bleak, and he was never
certain how he got from San Francisco to Thousand Oaks,
though it was likely by hitchhiking.
Mostly there was a feeling that something was wrong
with his world. But he didn’t breathe a word of it.