Stroke of a Pencil

by Zach Masri


Some thoughts.

"You start to enjoy life when you have lost everything."

I write this to you as I huddle up like a dog puffing away at a Pall Mall cigarette just out front of the Fanshawe Campus awaiting my test in a nervous panic. I keep thinking back to this somewhat strange encounter I had with some gimpy looking guy outside of the police station on Dundas and Adelaide just twenty minutes ago.

He began by asking me when the bus was to arrive in-which I told him


He was glad I was nice enough to respond to him as he was not necessarily the most approachable looking man. He had this big red scabby mark that covered the entire left side of his face and it was hard to focus while he talked without staring at it for too long. To be honest, I kind of just assumed he was some Meth head looking for money. It turns out (based off of what he told me) he had fled to Vancouver following an altercation he had with his parents.

He started attending exclusive Gay clubs there in an attempt to find some man to stay with and to whom he felt comfortable with. As he put it

"the gays are a nice bunch."

He eventually became acquainted with some dude named Frank and the two of them got along nicely. Our ugly friend at last had a place to stay.

Over the course of about six months, Frank became increasingly more dependent on Cocaine and his attitude and personality underwent a massive change. He would sleep with men unprotected constantly and even began slinging dope on the side just to keep a roof over their heads.

One morning while the two of them were still sleeping, the RCMP raided the spot and found a scale covered in Cocaine residue.

No drugs surprisingly.

They took the two of them into police custody and Frank begged them not to press charges against our ugly friend - Frank on the other hand got some time.

Our friend returned back to his hometown of Windsor, Ontario to reconcile with his family in-which they ultimately accepted his apology (for whatever it is that he did wrong.) Our friend eventually found an apartment in Windsor and everything seemed to be on the up-and-up. It wasn't until he began experiencing these migraines that intensified over time.

He got back from work one evening and suddenly started to feel really confused and shortly after lost all motor function and then plunged face-first into a coffee table that sat in his living room. His girlfriend at the time I guess was sleeping but was then awakened from the loud bang that he created and rushed him to the hospital.

He was bleeding profusely (internally and externally) and needed a fuck-ton of stitches to patch his busted up face. He revealed that he had suffered a massive stroke and following this, he was placed in a care home here in London where nurses could keep an eye on him.

He stayed there for two years and over time was able to build up enough strength to hold himself up with the aid of a cane. Pretty solid progress considering the doctors said he would be bound to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.

The people at the care home insisted that he stay there but our ugly friend could not bare to be treated like an idiot for the rest of his life. That thought seemed to really scare him.

I guess the whole reason that his story has sort of stuck with me is because it reminds me of how easy it is to have one thought about someone and not second guess as to how they have reached the point they are at.

Visible or not.

He was a caring and very humble man and I wish I could have stayed longer just so I could listen to whatever it is he had to say. This kind of thing really forces you to put your own problems into perspective.

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