“I need some space, I need my own place – that’s why I’m here, with this bottle of cheap beer.”
Not yet 9.00am.
Do I walk on with my dog-walk plan, or pause awhile and share a smile?
Experience advises in sternest tones that to booze alone before 9.00am … this will never end well. Experience and I chat within my head, all the while I’m smiling as I listen to this man met. A tale familiar – of down on his luck. Heard before from others who’ve been told “no” far too much. I thank Experience and invite it to learn, as I sit right down. Me and our dog – and this man called Brown.
Odd how the life story is always of woe. Of choices made well that end in a smell. Of years that pass by with the odd lass now and then – but not one that lasts – and never a real why. Of jobs and income once great now gone – now too late. Like a cork afloat, this life pushed here, this living pushed there. And now – no more dare.
As he talked and I just listened, he talked of skills I thought might fit. Skilled jobs at home but too small to appeal to the busy firms booked up months ahead – not ideal. I floated a thought, when the words paused for a breath, that Brown and our jobs might be a good deal.
He thought so too, and assured me eye to eye, that no beer when working would I see or fear. And I right quick, still eye to eye, assured him back I feared not his beer. So we shook hands affirming this Brown and I. Agreed Brown would call later that same day. Proper rates I repeated twice to Brown – skilled work needs pay parity – and this offer is not of charity.
I unsquatted with well creaky knees and we said bon adieu. Brown said he’d bring his dad to keep him in check. I said okay but it is Brown who has my respect. He said he would finish his beer and head home for his dad. He said they would see us sooner than a normal quite soon. Another hand-shake and adieu and I took our dog and her delayed dog-walk.
We can’t fix the world, my dog and me, we can’t cure all that’s in it, even that my dog can see. We can’t cure poverty, there will always be woe, we can’t make choices for others, no matter how low. We will never heal all the sick, for when bodies are fine the minds may stick, and when minds are healed the bodies may trip.
So my dog and I will keep walking on, for that is what she needs. Yet we may stop and share without a care, when experience advises not to stand and stare. I have no wish to save the world and all therein. For that is work and I know I will shirk.
But I remember this morning as I stopped to chat … something other than experience offered a thought. A whisper I know well – a sense of words. A voice of love – a knowing purred. An invitation to offer pay parity and not just cheap charity. A thought not of worldly experience or my staying safe. But a loving confidence of connection that is always a safe place.
Brown never showed later. I may never know why.
But I do know this.
Today was choice and not just chance. Like a pebble plopped in a flat calm lake. With ripples of choice we always must make. Of choice or no choice – a cup I must take.
I can’t cure the world for that is work. But I can make choices that are choosing of hope.
I have a thing about charity – so often gets in the way – lets me pass you by without any eye to eye. It so often offers me no change – through shedding small change. And it tells you much with my no eye to eye – just some change I can spare because I care (obviously).
That’s why I’m glad of today – me and Brown.
Neither of us looked down