Marble introduced me to Ed Drayton. His name and telephone number was given to me as someone who might want a tele-friend. Our first call was friendly as we tried to discern if we were compatible. We agreed to talk weekly and thus began my weekly sessions with someone who was just a voice on the phone.
We bonded when I mentioned I had lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He lived in Bed-Stuy on Halsey Street and I mentioned that my former boss also lived on Halsey Street. Our chats got a bit more personal as he shared how he arrived for Sunday worship at Marble early to get a parking spot. He would then head over to Trader Joe’s on West 23rd Street to buy assorted nuts and the newspaper and sat reading until it was time to walk over to Marble. I too, bought nuts at Trader Joe’s. Funny how things we think of as irrelevant take on special meaning when shared.
We also talked about how the Post Office kept losing his Postal money orders he tried endlessly to send his son. This distressed him and I listened and heard the loneliness in his voice. We planned to get together as soon as Marble reopened. He sat in the front row, I think, in front of the piano.
I can’t explain why I liked Mr Drayton, I just did. Nor why we both looked forward to our calls. We never met in person, but we knew one another. I’m sorry to share that one day my call went to voice mail. I kept calling and calling and still no response. I finally learned that Mr. Drayton had died. He gave me the gift of friendship. We never met and yet we were kindred spirits dealing with the pandemic the best we could. I think of Mr. Drayton often, especially when I’m picking up nuts at Trader Joe’s. I smile and send up a prayer.
Shared by Carmen Matias