Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Talk to me, please!

So, as many people know, I like to escape to our neighborhood Starbucks sometimes at night. I like the peacefulness; time to gather my thoughts; sometimes write or read. Usually someone chats with you for a second and moves on. Tonight was not one of those nights. There is a really sweet, way to happy, hyped up on coffee boy that works in there. He loves to talk and tonight he apparently loved talking to me. I kept waiting for my husband to call or text me; not even my neighbor sent one text that could have saved me. I had no way out of listening to him ramble on. At first I thought he may be trying to pick me up. He asked if I was married and if I had kids. I answered yes to both, so he asked if he could ask my opinion on something. The more I listened to his story, the more my heart went out to this young man. A condensed version of his story is that almost two years ago, his girlfriend got pregnant. They didn't get married, but had been living together. He was there for the birth of his son and did everything, including working two jobs to take care of her and the baby. About 7 months ago, while he was at work, she ran off with his child. He soon found out it was to meet someone she had started a relationship with online. He thinks she is in Slidell, LA, but he doesn't know for sure. In the 7 months, she has accepted only one phone call from him during which he offered to send her money for child support, but she would not give him the address where she is staying. He offered to Western Union it, but she said no to that. Her friends say that she is going to have him charged a deadbeat dad, but that does not appear to be the case. He just wanted to know if he had any rights. We talked for awhile. Although I am not an attorney, I made some suggestions of places he could turn for help. I assured him that he did certainly have parental rights and if she filed for back child support, she would surely have to grant those and she probably did not want to. The entire situation was so sad. There are so many women out there raising children on their own because the father's don't want to take responsibility and here sat a young man who was ready and he was being denied. He seemed at wits end and was at the point of tears. I guess he just needed someone to listen to him and therapy would be out of his price range. Usually I would have been quick to pick up my things and make a swift exit using some excuse or another, but tonight I felt like I needed to stay. What if talking things out with me, a perfect stranger, kept this kid from making a drastic mistake? I think we are all like him sometimes. We just need someone listen to us without passing judgement. We need someone who has no personal ties to a situation to look at it from the outside and help us make sense of a gigantic mess. Only in the South could you find that random stranger willing to listen to your problems having a coffee at your neighborhood Starbucks. This is in no way an invitation for you to come pour your heart out to me when all I really want is to drink my coffee and enjoy the silence that is not my house.

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