Victor, The Conqueror

The Children In The Alley


Again, it is one of those days that the sun is dipping on the horizon and the house is growing restless and I have realized I haven't yet blogged.

I blame it on the weekends.

Weekends are a flurry of activity and family adventure. They are the days when we run errands and buy groceries and toilet paper (seriously bought toilet paper this weekend). They are the days that we sleep in and stay up late and pretend that we are only semi-adults.

It's perfect.

And now there is our new, weird Sunday. Sunday we get up super early and drive downtown Indy to feed the homeless. We have a little church service and I make friendships with the men in the alley and hear their stories. Lucy serves coffee (her favorite part) and Teddy and London just do whatever it is they want to do. But there is always our faithful guardian--Victor. Victor is probably eighteen years old, and he describes himself as, "A beautiful, Latino, Black man." Victor protects my little family and watches over us. He has a brain that is filled with incredible knowledge of public buses and rock and roll music.

I have gathered, to the best of my ability, that Victor is very autistic. After asking him questions over the last week, I've learned that he has no family in the area in which he can live with. Today, he told me that his sister lives in Boston near their grandma, but he hasn't been to Boston since he was four years-old. His father is dead, and a "vanilla colored man with yellow hair" told him that he couldn't live with his mom anymore.

Victor is not a drunk. He does not do drugs. He tells me what things I can eat that are "clean" and what things I can eat that are "unclean." He told me that whiskey is evil and impure and you should never, ever try it. Today he told me all about the Jewish feast holidays and pronounced them all in beautiful Hebrew. He also told me that he wished he could hear a bagpipe section in Gavin Rossdale's music. Last week, he wanted Neil Young to add a bell section to "Rockin' In The Free World." He has a brain for the fine details of life, and he knows so much about music, yet he likes to put it all together in his own unique, imaginative way....

And I love it.

Victor is the kind of young man that might not make it far in this life. There is no one to take him in and guide him. There's no way he can provide for himself. He's just not capable without a great deal of help and coaching. A few weeks ago, he got in trouble with the police because some "gangsters" were beating him up and he couldn't communicate what had happened when the police arrived. He panicked and shouted, and, thankfully, one of the officers seemed to understand that Victor was special. He got him back to the homeless mission and explained to him that it wasn't a good idea to yell at the police and run...or anything else that could get him hurt. The officer told Victor that not all policemen might understand that he just needed extra help. I'm thankful for that, but worried about it, too.

I've made my mind up to take Victor out one afternoon. Maybe in the fall. My whole family will take him out and spend a family day with him. I know it could go south really fast, but I can't get the idea out of my head. The way he looks at my children, and Roger, and me when we walk into the alley--it's like he sees a bit of home.

This is Victor keeping watch over me--keeping me safe from vampire mosquitoes.

I love him.

I'm glad I know him.

And I hope that we build a world where men and women like Victor always have a safe place that feels like home--with people to include them and hug them.

Please be kind, World.

Please be kind and find your own Victor to love and encourage and allow him to not feel so very alone.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


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