I’m learning a little bit more about myself from this whole unemployed saga. The first: how much I enjoy being outdoors. I don’t like the sun on me, though I enjoy daylight and being outdoors during the daytime hours. My eyes, savoring life. As the outsider that I am and quite the voyeur, I feast on life around me. I bask in the joyous laughter of loving couples, smiling children, sturdy old men and women on motorized chairs doing their shopping. I ponder on the sort of the homeless and the beggars who come along my path. What becomes of them thereafter? Will they make it out? Will they be able one day to find work, a steady home and have a regular life again or have they adopted this new way of life as the only way to be! What could have brought them here, old and young, more so the young? Were they abused? Are they alcoholics or addicts? How can a young American, white woman or young man end up begging on corners, even homeless in his own land, the USA, land of the free and one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world?
Will I end up like this? That’s the underlying thought my conscious mind dares not bring out.
I parked my car, one many compliment me on, her speed, her look and how well I take care of her. I leave Sissy, that’s her name, under the shade, walk to the door of the restaurant for my usual; chia seed and cold pressed beet juice then suddenly stop. Something caught my eye and I had to attend, mark time. This middle aged lady, blonde hair wearing an old green dress skimming her curves leaning over this older black man, wiping his mouth. She’s smiling and he’s staring at her with tenderness. Her hair, disheveled but she tries to tidy it with her fingers. They’re sitting near some plastic bags filled with old clothes. I could tell they were homeless, sitting outside to eat, away from others but lost in each other. I stopped a while longer taking the scene of camaraderie, joviality and connection. There’s nothing like having someone who truly sees you and understands what you’re going through. Maybe in another lifetime they wouldn’t even be friends. Sitting there, with nothing between them but bags, bits of food and the street, they managed to forge a bond. No wonder they say misery likes company. The only thing that separates misery from hell is company.
For a bit I almost envied the fact she had someone. She may think she has nothing left but does. Does she even realize what a gift he is? Does he realize what he’s found in her? I’m sure she would not even think someone could want something she has. We are all missing something we wish we had that someone else probably takes for granted, totally unaware of the value another places on what they do have. We worry so much about what we don’t have and tend to miss out on what we do have, like the sun, the sea, life around us, a working car, most of all friendship, shared circumstances, human connectedness.
I went inside, rushed to wash my hands and in she comes with her toothbrush and soap. She still takes care of herself or tries to. The faucet wasn’t working so she brushed her hair and smiled herself. I leave to return to my Sissy. As I was getting out of the parking spot, out she comes smiling, a pep in her walk as she goes towards her companion. She looked so beautiful.
PS: Did you ever wonder what kind of footprints you left behind and what do they say about you? Are you mindful of how you make people feel? Does it even matter, to you? Isn’t it something how those who hurt you the most end up having what they ruined for you and took away from you? Hmmmm… Karma! My ass!