I met a man living by the river last month. His home was a blue tent by which he rolled a cigarette made of many endings. His attention to making that cigarette resembled affection. I was attracted to this little scene, intuitively longing to join in it. I sat near by watching and sensing the soul of that mysterious settler that seem to live beside what I know.
However I chose to ‘leave’ him, even though he did not know that. But I knew I had abandoned him. To look at this 'outcast' was to close to heart, way to activating for a terror of mine of ending as a bag woman.
Let’s pretend this exiled fragment was outside my self. I walked away brushing it all off I thought.
My feet became heavier and heavier. My bag filled with picnic food screamed to be shared. A thick invisible ocean made walking away almost impossible. I could have carried on back ‘home’ with great effort.
A voice started talking inside of me : ‘ You have a great opportunity here to do something for someone else, to get out of your feeling of ‘sorryness’ and alchemise a great fear. Turn back, seat on the bench near this man and see what happens. Do not turn back!’
I did turn round knowing and trusting the source of that voice. I did seat on the bench while observing that man, whose personal boundaries mixed with mine created a sort of intimacy, perhaps because he lives in public spaces. Only today i can name as such... A whole flock of emotions and doubts battered their winds around my heart. What to do now not to bring my ‘superior saviour’ and to perhaps bring shame to his plot of land. I did not want to meet him with anything but a stripped me, as he presented himself to me. I dropped within and got up to meet...
-‘Hi I am Azul, how are you?’
-‘ Real good, thank you. You?
-‘ Good talking to you and I am wondering if you are hungry and wanted to share my lunch on the bench, there?’ I mumbled.
-‘ That would be wonderful, he said’
A inner landscape was irremediably transformed by this meeting. My world, in the next hour, was to become a little bit restored. As we talked of our lives, listened with heart, laughed out loud, ate with gusto and even cried together, this kind man called Graham and I became close.
He had lived 15 years in the streets and river shores of Devon. His two grown up children did not understand. He knew love and pain, fear and courage. Someone even wrote a book about him that he did not wish to read. He wanted to keep the sense he had of himself intact, as a protective shield. He loved the opened goat cheese that he ate with a spoon. He did not wish to scare me if he had a knife he said.
-“So what is your story dear? I am glad you stopped by’: Graham said
I cried, he gave me space...
Something I think called humility dropped quite heavily on my shoulders so humanity could have a seat to. She was wrapping both of us in the realities of being humans. The realities that create links and weave us together in a sweet silky rough clothe.
I could also write a book about him after only an hour shared together. It would be about bringing back the outcasts ones in our own heart and soul...one at a time.
River of Words and Images by Azul Thomé: