I first met this man at a walking trail in the park and even though I saw him with my own eyes, to this day I wonder if he is real. He said his name was Zedekiah and he was quick to offer me his phone number which I never used. Two years later I met him again through a mutual friend who recommended him as a massage therapist who could work out the pain from an injured ankle. The friend ended up giving Zedekiah my number so that we spoke not long after. One day led to a year of talking on the phone but to see his face again would be a thing of the past because our meetings began with me being blind-folded .
We never even mentioned therapy. I was curious, inquiring of his strange request to bind my eyes to which he responded, “It is a game I like to play to see if you could identify me if you never saw me again.” I pressed him further asking him once and finally “Why”? He told me it would be of little consequence to reveal that information right now. Though I felt a bit hesitant the game sounded intriguing so I played along, spending time in his presence where we laughed like old friends with out my ever seeing him. After our meetings would end Zedekiah would call me once he got home telling me of exotic experiences in the Congo and a Gorilla named Coco who was partial to human women.
He related that Cocoa charmed them like a flesh man coaxing his female guardians to allow him fast food and sugary cakes as a treat when he was good. He talked about his enchanted childhood and new beginnings when introduced to the United States almost nine years ago then one evening after work I received a phone call, unexpected and out of the blue. The unfamiliar gentlemen greeted me explaining, he was one of Zedekiah’s closest confidants and he was to give me a message for him, apologizing for the fact that Z couldn’t do it himself.
He said, “Z wants you to know he loves you and thank you for being there for him when he needed a friend. Although, at this moment he doesn’t know exactly the next time he will be able to talk you, he will try to reach you as soon as possible but in mean-time please remember him.” I semi-consciously, told the man thank you, slowly removing the phone from my ear. The words, “remember him?” came from my lips like the steam from a tea kettle as I stared out of the sliding doors of the living room. That phone call was four years ago. I have committed my memory to an image of his face.