Reiki; Oil with Paper Mache Collage on Wood; 11.5" x 17" x 1.5" Relief $190
If he could be any other way, he would - he is just grasping for seconds of power and then enduring hours of agony as a result of biting the hand that feeds him. He rambles incessantly. He rants and raves. He rhymes sometimes and he filters through personalities - Fruit Loops, Cap'n Crunch, Crunch Berries, Wiley Coyote, & Cocoa Puffs, but the mermaid could see through all of this and sees simply a little boy dying for a friend.
It seemed that the mermaid was criticized by her family-of-origin and was rejected by her immediate kinfolk in the Land of Set, for taking a liking to the yeti and since she had tuned in to his "frequency", life without him became gray and flat. Once again she was forced to choose the hard path - to turn away from family and "friends" and reach out to the yeti.
Her first task was to bring him out of the First Dimension. He was just a point in space. A mind that doesn't work right and a body that won't die. She started to feed him - he was emaciated from living on the street. He had to walk for miles for each meal. Breakfast at the northeast church. Lunch at the middle church. Dinner at the southwest church. Mickey-Ds in between.
This west coast town where they both grew up used to be a place of considerable compassion and freedom.
Over the years it had become Babylon. It is a place where people do not take care of each other but instead neglect and despise the weaker ones. They just seem to stand and watch people die - They have some rationalization that seems to work for them. - watch TV - turn a blind eye - it's all cliche, but it's startlingly real.
Most of the people are medicated. The mermaid had never met so many people on "medication". The dispenaries were directed by the city to give out free weed to the homeless to make their living conditions more palatable, and the townsfolk were all on anti-depressants. It's an epidemic.
The mermaid wondered why it was so obvious to her and not to others that they are depressed because they have cut themselves off from Love. There was also a strange vibe in the air there. Oppressive, like HAARP mind-control might feel. The mermaid found that she herself had no energy to explore or venture out to meet new people or follow her usual interests. She could not understand this except that she felt as though there were strange frequencies of ultra-sound introduced in the atmosphere that were preventing her normal brain functioning. She felt weighed down as if by an invisible anvil. Others did not seem to feel the same way particularly. The people who lived there, who had always been active, still seemed to be active, but the majority were stuck in the muck.
It seemed obvious to the mermaid: they are despondent because they had no principles. They are unhappy because they sold out to convenience rather than standing up - caring for their brothers and sisters, cherishing the earth. What is apathy but suppressed fear and anger eating away at the lining of the stomach, brain, nerves... causing disease.
The yeti is an elder now. He gets a monthly check, but fearing that he will spend it unwisely he gave it all away in the first week and then lived on nothing eating nothing for the rest of the month. He was skin and bones. His brain would not function well without nutrition.
When she met him, the yeti was staying in the Catholic Church rectory at night. It was a st-joseph-worker church so the priests took in the poor. They slept among the pews on the floor, but at least they were indoors. The homeless shelters were maxed out and you had to follow too many rules and there was no housing anyway so you would end up back on the street, so why bother? The yeti could not follow all the rules anyway so he just stayed in the rectory and called himself a Catholic. He had to go to Mass before they fed them breakfast daily.
The mermaid herself lived out of town about half an hour northeast of Cooltown in a more ethnic neighborhood where there were no obvious homeless people, just a poor Hispanic 'hood. She was renting a room from an old friend who had been able to buy a small house there and was now renting out all his rooms to pay the mortgage.
It's the whites that abandon their family members to the street and the non-whites that give their disabled uncle a room in the house.
After a few weeks, the yeti moved to the 'hood and set up camp next to a church 2 houses away from the mermaid. The mermaid's landlord friend was pretty unhappy to hear this and the mermaid feared that her living situation was threatened, but she could not convince the yeti to move back to Cooltown. The mermaid begged the yeti to move back to the Catholic worker church but the yeti said that this guy named Pete jerked off every night in the pews and he could not sleep with all the noise.
Once the yeti set up camp inland, the cops immediately rolled him and took him to the nut farm 50 mi away. The mermaid got a call that he was lost and wandering around in wealthy neighborhoods disturbing the peace with no way to get home. He had been shot up with Halidol and dumped in a park with a bus pass and no map. The mermaid drove an hour and a half to find him and bring him back.
At that point she made him a little card to keep in his wallet to show the cops that he "belonged" to her, asking them to call her before they took him in again. It was a periodic thing, she was told, that the cops would make him dump his pockets on the ground looking for a reason to arrest him so they could move him out of the residential neighborhood. The yeti had a complex filing system for all his important papers and cards and money. The cops could care less about this and it would take the yeti 4 hours to reorganize his pockets after a roll.
The mermaid began to take the yeti to the food pantry every week, getting rice and beans which she cooked with vegetables to bulk him up.
She began to touch him - reaching out her hand to hold his. It had been so many years since he has felt human contact - sometimes he loved it and sometimes he lashed out at her. Sometimes they held each other for a long time.
She gave him a set of watercolors and a pad of paper so he could begin to paint again. He began to write stories. He bought a Scrabble set and they begin to play. He would get furious if she had any other male friends, and she would have to explain to him over and over that she and he were friends that loved one-another, nothing more. It was a hard line to walk.
She snuck him into her house and let him shower when the roommates were out, several times a week. He had a planet fitness membership himself, but it took a bus ride to get there so he was only able to use it once a week. He had mite-bites on his skin, maybe from a soup-kitchen or clothes from the freebox. She would watch him sleep after a shower, in her bed under blankets, and it made her heart warm again like that burning heart that she had had so many years ago.