Weeping in Greektown

Written by Jerry Stanecki

He left.

She stayed, eyes red from tears and booze.

He went back to the party of a dozen or so in the Parthenon restaurant.  It was a strange mix of young and old. A balding man, maybe 50 sat at the head of the table while at the other end were several young couples. His children…perhaps celebrating a birthday?

I’d seen her maybe 10 minutes before, in the doorway of the Parthenon Restaurant listening with red, puffy eyes. A little girl sadness filled the face of a pretty young woman who could only have just turned 21, a little girl sadness I’d hadn’t seen for years. She was holding a half empty, funny shaped glass with what looked like a fruit drink in it. The straw had been chewed.

She’d been crying. He was trying to comfort her, help her, and tell her it’s ok, things will work out. She wasn’t hearing, too deeply lost in sadness and alcohol.

He walked back to the table.

She stayed there, slumped against the wall, hopeless. Finally, she followed him back to the table, but she didn’t sit down.  She came back to the front door alone and walked out.

I watched as she staggered across Monroe Street in the heart of Detroit’s Greektown. She had come undone. Hip pants sagging, droopy in the drawers, she’d let herself get sloppy. Booze does that, especially with heartbreak.

She approached four young people about her age, 19-20 and said something to them, two women and two men in black shirts and black pants, a safe uniform replayed in cycles through the ages.

The blond girl said something back to her, maybe was are you crying? Or, why are you so sad.  I couldn’t hear.

The stoned guitarist had set up an amplifier ten feet from the Greek bakery door and was attempting to play riffs that weren’t coming out to well. An overweight woman in what looked like a bridesmaids dress, stood there in pale pastel, demurely until she yelled at the guitar player.

“Dance, dance,” she shouted and I wondered if she thought he was Beau Jingles.

Guitar man ignored her doing some screeches on a blackboard sounds that send several people rushing into the bakery.

I looked back at the girl, shaky on her feet. She was still telling the blonde woman something and the two guys bored by what I couldn’t hear, cased the street for other eye candy.

Enough, I said, resisting the desire to offer the girl help. Drunks don’t comprehend well, I thought, having plenty of self experience.

Walking down Monroe toward the parking structure, past a chalk artist on the street do characures, it started misting.  Pausing under a restaurant awning, I spotted a TV through the window. On it was a player, wearing his Detroit tiger uniform. He’d just pitched a one-hit game against the Legendary New York Yankees at Comerica Park about six city blocks away.  He was standing, smiling, being interviewed in a heavy downpour of rain.

Not able to forget the drunken girl, I pulled out of the parking garage and went around the block. Turning left onto Monroe Street, I slowed as I came to the Parthenon.

There she was, sitting on the concrete sidewalk, leaning against the wall of casino. She was sobbing, crying so hard her body racked spasmodically, her tears mixing with the heavy rain into a downfall onto her once white open neck blouse.

The blonde and her friends still ignoring her as she wept.

The guitar man still screeching nerve-burning sounds.

Thank god, the woman demanding he dance had left.


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