another post from a past blog that I want to keep..
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Maybe it should be in my Marbles category, I mean not decisively pretty or ugly, different depending on which side you look at it from… But the conversation was moving and special in its own right so let’s call it a Rose…
The first thing I came across in my hometown, after getting off the tram, was a tipsy homeless man. There were around twenty people waiting for the bus but he approached me and my mum, probably because of the suitcase next to me. Maybe he thought I might have more money on me if I’m travelling. Bless, cos it was before I went to exchange it so I had only pound notes on me. He asked for money for food. I said I don’t have any. My mum had some but she’s quite strict with drunk people asking for money. There are enough of them where I come from, so one has to be bit more assertive living here, seeing it more. On top she believes in a simple thing: ‘If you don’t have a job, home or food why the hell you spend what you manage to beg out on booze’. She’s absolutely right, but on the other hand, if I became homeless, sleeping in minus temperatures on the street, wanting to forget how I found myself there, even if due to my own mistakes, then maybe I would be getting drunk too… I don’t know. Not for me to judge it. He simply asked a question and I simply answered…
His face was beaten and swollen on one side. He pulled his trousers up one of his legs, explaining he was beaten up with a baseball bat by some youngsters, saying something about working in a mine in the past too. He asked for money again. By this time my mum cleverly walked away not to be hassled anymore but I sort of felt like chatting to him. He didn’t seem impolite or dangerous so I continue talking. I told him I didn’t have any money for him but I have a good word and that would have to do. And somehow he stopped talking about money, like he forgot all about it, and started telling me the story of his life instead and that he doesn’t want to live anymore. All he wants is to die every day because he doesn’t have anything. Literally. He doesn’t have any perspectives and no hope in his heart. He is unhappy… It is not the easiest task to say something comforting in a situation like that but because he was so open and in a way showing gratitude that someone made the effort of listening to him instead of dismissing as unworthy of a dialogue because of the state he was in, i felt the need to say something really suitable.
By then i was happy my mother that I was visiting, wasn’t standing next to us listening to me, because she would have got more than slightly concerned about what on earth i experienced in my life abroad if i have any words of wisdom and comfort for a 50-year-old homeless, jobless and hungry guy that wishes to die. But sometimes it’s simply about having a particular perspective or shared understanding, even if i was never literally homeless like him. No yet. But who knows? And i told him exactly what i wished i was told when it was dark for me. Maybe today he thinks that his life couldn’t be any worse, but it always can. Thinking it can’t be any worse is a very powerful spell, negative too at least in my life. Whenever i thought i couldn’t be in more trouble and darkness, the following couple of days did prove me wrong and every time something worse would have happened. I reminded him that there are people who may not be homeless but they don’t have arms or legs and they can’t do anything without someone’s help, that the simplest routines are like climbing Mount Everest every time. I told him that as we speak there is a multimillionaire somewhere as unhappy as he is, for other reasons. Or maybe this very millionaire may become homeless before the end of the week. That he can’t be sure what life brings and he always needs to have hope. I told him to trust me on that and asked him to remind himself our chat when the sunny day comes and to imagine me saying to his smiley happy face ‘I told you it’s all gonna be good’. I know it seems as if a girl looking like me has no clue and it’s easy to say, but I’m saying that with full awareness that anyone can be in his shoes at any point, and I’m aware it might be me…
The more i listened to him and replied with polite words, the more he was in tears. I wanted to cry to but that wouldn’t help. I ended with my wishes that may God bless him and may the sun shine for him one day. I also asked him to remember it’s the inner wealth he’s carrying through his life, and not the money he doesn’t have, that should matter most.
I don’t have a clue what’s on the cards for him (or me) but may God bless him with a good solution. And hope. Hope to give him strength to mend what he can mend. Me myself? I am grateful for this conversation too. That homeless man having nothing himself managed to give me lots just by sharing his perspective and sorrows with me. One of life’s wonders.
Connections we make.