Tale from the archives
His name is Andrew.
Andrew was an older man from Utah, a dear friend of mine. I had known Andrew for over five years, back in the day. He was my neighbor. Andrew was an alcoholic; as a result, not many people wanted to speak to him. He smells of alcohol day and night, He lives by himself so he spent most of his time drinking with the little money the government sent his way, for Andrew was a veteran.
Andrew was once married and had a beautiful family back in Utah, but he has not seen his family in years. A lot of time has passed and Andrew did not even remember his son’s name anymore. The only thing left from that moment was a black and white photography that Andrew kept on his fridge over the years. Andrew is now a very old man and does not remember much from his past.
I was lucky to have been Andrew’s neighbor for some years for I enjoyed talking to him. I did not mind the smell of alcohol too much and it gave me opportunity to speak to someone from Utah.
Andrew was raised a Mormon, but he did not like been a Mormon so he moved out of Utah to San Francisco after his divorce. He said California is very liberal and he won’t fill any guilt not living by his religion, he didn't miss Utah for he never liked it anyway. So he said.
Not many people came to see Andrew over the years, in fact no one as I am aware of has ever come to see Andrew. The only time he has opportunity to talk to someone was when he entered the elevator on his way outside, but even that, people avoided the elevator after Andrew entered it. They said Andrew leaves a bad smell in the elevator, so they would rather take the stairs, for they don’t want to have a bad smell on their nice shirts.
Andrew had a bad habit of standing at people’s doorway in the middle of the night and starting a loud conversation with himself. That makes people nervous, so they called the Police for him. That was when I usually come out for I enjoyed watching the scene.
The Police never arrested Andrew, nor gave him a ticket; they said they did not know what to do with him. Everyone in the department knew Andrew, so they usually took him back to his apartment and asked him to lock the door behind himself. That was what Andrew usually did after the Police asked him to do so.
Been his neighbor I knew that Andrew rarely locked his door, in fact he usually forgets to do so. The few moments that Andrew was asked by the police to lock himself inside, because it was the middle of the night, I realized that the next day, it usually takes Andrew a long time to come out. My guess was that Andrew was unable to re-locate the keys so he could unlock his door. He usually screams inside his one room apartment, but he eventually comes out.
That was how it happened, every now and then, until that early morning, when we all got woken up by the police and the fire department. The flames were huge and were coming out of Andrew’s window. The fire fighters broke my door. That was when I woke up and saw the flames. The fire fighters needed to access Andrew’s apartment by cracking the wall of my room. My first instinct was to save myself by running out just like everyone else.
The last thing I saw was the paramedics carrying Andrew away. He was alive but badly burnt.
The Red Cross put us all in a fancy hotel for the next few weeks free of charge, except Andrew. He probably ended up in a hospital.
The landlords offered me $6000 so I could move out of the apartment for them to renovate and rent it for more money. I accepted, took the money and moved to the Tenderloin. That was the only place I could afford a new apartment back then.
I wonder how much that one bedroom apartment on Bush and Jones street is going for today?
I never knew what happened to my dear friend, Andrew. That was the last time I saw him.
My guess was, he never got any offer from the landlords, and he most likely lost his apartment and his black and white photography and probably his life.
Where ever my dear friend Andrew happen to be today, I hope he finds people willing to talk to him.