Someone new to help, something else to make someone happy each of the past few days. From being at the right place at the right time to help a stranger get her dig to the emergency room after an attack by another, to finding, just outside my apartment door on the morning I decide to bring a bag of warm clothes that has been sitting for months, the person who perhaps needed them more than any other – and just the right size so that they would fit her thin frame.
There is no altruism in my actions, in my need to help others. It is as vital to me as food, as breath. As the beat of my heart – but even, perhaps, more so than those things alone.
I need them to prove my existence. To remind myself that I’m someone, something. To help push away the constant doubt that I am a corporeal being, flesh, bone, blood, and not an illusion, an apparition, a phantom. A dream.
In my life I have been called all of those and more, always by those who knew me a bit more than the shallow toe-dip of most. Always by lovers. But then, it was them that made me believe I was real.
In this life I live now, days, sometimes weeks pass without talking or seeing someone who knows me, without touching another human, without the challenge of a good conversation, something that might make me think, question – and I feel myself vanishing again in the absence of those things…
No, the things I do for others, at least at this point in my life, isn’t even close to something just for them.
In many ways, I need them much more than they need me.