"Can we talk?" Tank asked me as I walked downtown. His question surprised me. Tank doesn't talk much. He is as tough as his nickname. Closed, muscular, speaking with short, quick words and a furled brow… tough.
"What's up?" I replied.
"My baby passed away this week… When she was born, her mom and I agreed that I wouldn't be part of her life… but she was born with a heart problem… she died this past week. I don't even know what she looked like… I felt it for the first time as I walked here alone this afternoon… You know my son was taken three and a half years ago… We were too young and gave him up for adoption… I hear things about him from the agency… He's in a good home." Tank tried to smile.
I asked some detail questions. Tank shared some glowing reports about his son. And some anguish about his daughter.
"I just figured out… I've lost both of my children…"
"I'm sorry, brother."
"Yeah…" and then it was gone… the safety, the vulnerability, the side of Tank no one gets to see. Tank caught himself in the moment and closed down again with an off topic question.
I answered. And Tank found an opening to leave. He walked away. Tough as the streets again.
It was a moment. Perhaps a couple of minutes – tops. But Tank felt safe for that moment. In that moment, we found 'home' together.