I’ve been kind of antisocial this weekend. Sitting alone on my new couch, reading, writing a little, not doing much of anything.
But- when I did venture out – I had the most beautiful and meaningful engagements.
At the supermarket, two old men stood behind me. They were talking about their homeland, Senegal. About how much they miss their village, communal cooking fires, the brothers they have not seen for over ten years and the grandchildren they will never meet.
As they spoke I could see their families. I could feel the heat, taste the dust and hear the drumbeat.
And I could feel their overwhelming sadness of displacement, of being so far from home and of knowing that they will never go back.
I apologised for eavesdropping and chatted to them for a while. Two gentle old men with extraordinary stories.
I came home to my couch. A few tears in my eyes.
And then I heard the ‘shouting man’. The neighborhood pest. He used to wander around at the same time, every day and every night, yelling in an unintelligible language.
I’ve often wanted to kill him.
But then he disappeared. And as noisy and mad as he was, I really missed his presence. His regular 8 pm appearance was somehow reassuring.
I worried that something horrible may have happened to him.
Yesterday he came back. 8 pm. Yelling louder than ever.
I went outside to tell him to keep it down, but also to ask where he’d been.
‘A place where they tried to clean me,’ he replied. I think he meant a shelter.
I’m glad he’s back on the streets. It’s where he’s happiest.
I’ve decided to get out more.
Not to bars or coffee shops. But out.
To walk streets that I haven’t walked on before.
To meet people that I wouldn’t normally meet.
Because the world opens up wide when you engage with new people.
And I definitely want engagement.