Sunday, June 12

day 10419: watching denis…

I don’t know Denis. I can’t tell you what happened to him after my story ends. I can’t tell you what happened to him before my story even begins.

I just know that one minute we were laughing and drinking on the balcony, and the next minute, we were leaning over the railing peering anxiously at the parking lot below where Denis sprawled motionless on the ground; arms and legs akimbo.

We watched as he tried in vain to get up, watched as he stretched his fingertips upwards towards the sky, reaching for what we didn’t know. We watched the groups of people standing not thirty feet away from him, just watching him. We yelled down to them to see if he was okay. The man carrying the child made drinking motions with his hand. Denis, as it appeared, had passed out drunk in the parking lot.

No one moved to offer him any assistance.

Fifteen floors up, we dialed 911.

We watched as people drove into the parking lot, swerved around him, and got out of their cars to go shopping. We watched as a couple came back from shopping, threw their bags into the back of their car, lowered the roof of their convertible and drove off. Another couple walked hand in hand through the parking lot. They looked at Denis, looked at the other people standing there watching Denis, and called for an ambulance again.

Still, no one moved to offer him any assistance. Everyone just stood there and watched Denis… watched as a piece of newspaper blew towards him and covered up his face… watched as he tried to reach up to brush it off, but only managed to raise his arm a few inches off the floor.

And then we had enough. Ed and Jen went down to see what they could do for Denis. Drunk as a skunk, or high as a kite, he did not deserve the uncaring morbid curiosity of his fellow mankind.

We watched for the ambulance. It took more than twenty minutes to come. Obviously, Denis was not a priority for them.

It turns out that Denis is epileptic. He was off his meds, and might have taken a little “something something.” He was reaching towards the sky because he couldn’t see. He was feeling around for the ground once he sat up because he couldn’t see that either.

It was probably a good thing. Otherwise, he would have seen all the people standing around watching him but not reaching out to help him.

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