Posted in blogging, Stories, Writing

I am John

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I Am John

‘I first saw him, sleeping in the front seat of his car, impossibly squashed, with his weary head resting on a pillow balancing on the window sill. It was almost 9.’

 

🍀

 

His name is John, and he lives in his car.

I walk past him twice a day in my usual hurried manner on my way to work.

For months, I didn’t notice him. For months, I walked straight past, consumed with my own thoughts, and my own life.

and he never made himself known.

He never, ever, asked me for anything, he never told me his story, he simply existed.

I remember seeing him once, cooking some beans on a little gas stove. I thought he was a backpacker, on a lovely holiday.

“That’s a clever way to see Australia if you’re on a budget” I thought.

I noticed a bunch of clothes neatly stacked in a white washing basket, others dangling out of a half open window, drying I guess.

Sometimes he would sit in his camp chair, with his personal things around him, you know, gadgets, cooking utensils, an old fashioned transistor radio, and appear to be busy, as if he was trying to organise himself.

Another time, I saw him sleeping in the front seat of his car all squashed up, with his weary head resting on a pillow, that was doubled over balancing on the window sill. It was almost 9.

He must have wondered why I never said hello, why no one ever said hello.

-and then one day, a friend of mine, told me his name was John.

“Do you know John?”-He asked

“Should I?”

“He lives in his car, you know, that little old red one?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve seen him. He lives in his car?”

“Yep. He came over to talk to me once, and I was busy, so I fobbed him off and he quieltly walked away. I felt really terrible as that’s not me, so the next day, I took him a bag of oranges and some bananas. He stared at them for ages, looked at me like he was confused and said-

‘I haven’t had fruit in 5 months’

He had a career, and a family, until something went wrong and he lost everything. He hasn’t seen his kids in 12 years.”

He was there, the very next day when I passed him, this time, with a purpose.

His head was down, not wishing to engage in any way, busily preparing breakfast.

“Hello, John” I said

He stopped what he was doing and lifted his eyes in my direction, but his head remained down.

“Hello” -he said faintly

He was so quiet I could hardly make out the words. There was something wrong with his eyes, I don’t know what but they had the potential to create fear in some.

I don’t think he was prepared for conversation, as he didn’t seem to know what to do with it.

I kept walking on my Merry way, I thought it best to keep moving.

The next day, I once again walked in front of his car to catch his attention.

“Morning John”

“Hi”- He instantly responded.

If I wasn’t mistaken, he almost smiled this time, and his response was clear and more definite.

For a week, I greeted him and acknowledged his presence. It was difficult to tell whether this meant anything to him or not, but he always responded with an element of surprise in his voice.

Before I knew it, annual leave was upon me, and I consequently hadn’t seen John for a couple of weeks.

I wanted to prepare a Christmas hamper for him, so I bought a little basket and filled it with essential items. Fruit, tinned food, biscuits, some sparkling grape juice, bread etc.

He was one of those invisible people.

You know those?

The ones that nobody knows, and nobody seems to care about?

There are plenty of those people around.

I call them the invisible people.

The people that believe their failings deem them an outcast, or are so unforgivable they don’t deserve to share in the gift of living.

The damaged, pained souls who have lost themselves in the consequence of past, and who have been conditioned to fear, and hide and run from everything that hurts.

Those tortured minds inside which mental illness has well and truly taken the reigns and eaten away the person that was, or could’ve been.

How do people get this way?

How do people end up this broken?

I couldn’t wait to give him his hamper, to make him realise, that someone knew now, that

HE WAS JOHN.

As I pulled into the car park that was his home for the last 6 months, my stomach fell into my feet.

He was gone.

I drove back in the evening thinking he may have just been out, but his car park, his little piece of land he called home, was empty.

The very spot where his invisible life had been, was now a few random doves, some stained concrete and a pair of lifeless white lines.

‘But he can’t be gone’- I told myself.

I stared at the empty space in front of me for minutes, suddenly suffocatingly helpless.

It occurred to me, that I just expected he would be there, like I would be in my house, or my friends in theirs.

But he had no home, now did he? I just made that up to make myself feel better, and to convince myself he wasn’t so unhappy with his camp chair and beans for dinner.

But that’s not how it works with invisible people, now is it?

His home was not that car parking space afterall.

His address?

‘No permanent address’

Bollocks, I desperately wanted him to have the hamper, because I thought in my naive little mind, that he would realise someone cared.

-and I wanted for him to be given a gift, for christmas, so that he could share for one small moment, what the rest of us take for granted-feeling worthy of someone else’s thoughts.

But he was never going to stay, because he had given up on himself, long, long, ago, and his plans were not plans, but survival tactics, and that’s how he had to roll.

I never got to give John his Christmas hamper.

Rumour has it, he headed South to the cooler weather, a couple of days before I realised.

John,

I know you will never read this, but I hope a little messenger is able to let you know in some strange way, that I was happy to have met you.

and to me,

You are John, and you are no longer invisible.

Merry Christmas.

🎄

Inspired by Daily Word Press prompt

Disaster

Faces

Tomorrow

To my boy

 

Posted in Deep, Stories, Story, Writing

To My Boy

Author

Nicole Martin

There are so many things that mums and dads should say

But sometimes, we fail to say them in the way you need us to.

When your little heart broke today, I felt it too-like breaking glass, I shattered, helpless, as the pieces fell.

It hit me in spectacular fashion, that sometimes, I don’t have all the answers, and sometimes, I can’t fix it.

So I did the only thing I could do.

I lay with you.

I lay down with you on your little bed, and welcomed silence as I stroked your tear sodden cheek.

So soft it was, I didn’t realise how so,  you, my little man, are but a babe in arms, your virgin soul, newly challenged by the devastation of disappointment.

There were no words- they felt weightless and empty in comparison to the energy that transpired in this moment.

The clock ticked, our heavy eyes fell closed, and we drifted into sleep.

I remember my words to you the next day…

“You know how you’re going to get through this? You get up, you have breakfast, and you go to school. Then you come home to mum and dad and your brother, and you have dinner, go to sleep, and get up again the next day-That’s it. That’s how you’ll get through this”

He heard me, but I could sense my words were just words to him, largely because they had not been lived.

-and my heart whispered

‘Please believe me when I tell you, that tomorrow, this will be yesterday’

To my Boy

~Words for another day

‘You are growing before my eyes son, and there are so many things I would love to share in order to spare you the pain, but in doing so, I will be depriving you of important growth- Of finding your own way, and building resilience.

Right now, you are living the miracle of youth. You have freedom, like an eagle soaring through infinite skies-the world is yours.

Your dreams not yet realised lie dormant, waiting to be launched.

I understand school work is a drag to you, that’s all you see. It’s ok to feel that way. Just know, all great things require hard work. There’s no getting out of it. The more you put in, the easier it will become, and the more choices will be available to you.

Put in your best effort, because if you don’t, you will be selling yourself short.

Life is not fair and equal. Never has been, never will be. Don’t waste one second dwelling on that my boy- endure the disappointments, and learn from them. There will be many. Your time will always come, and when it does, grab the opportunity and run with the wind.

Believe in yourself. You will fail, that’s a given, but success lies in perseverance not perfection.

Girls will break your heart into a million pieces, but for every heartaching moment you feel, there is someone out there breaking over you, so be kind to them, as you are their world.

Never give up on love. Sometimes, the real diamonds are hiding in the sand and are never where you expect them to be.

You will never be liked by everybody, that’s ok. You are not here to be liked. You  are here to find those that love you, to find meaning and warmth through connection. To live a life that is truly you. A life that feels natural and comfortable.

Surround yourself with those whose hearts beat with the same drum. It’s the only way to happiness. Let go of those that hold you back, and leave them to find their own way.

This will be difficult, as the pressure to fit in will always be there.

Acceptance will make you feel liked, which in turn feeds your self esteem, but it’s fickle. Don’t fight for it, you will only be disappointed. One minute they like you, the next they don’t, and changing yourself to suit others is unsustainable. Eventually, you will feel lost, alone and insecure for the fear of them discovering the real you.

Rather, be happy in your own shoes.

Stand up and take ownership of your individuality.

May you realise all judgement passed is simply a fear of difference. Embrace difference. No two people are the same, and everybody deserves validation.

Those that are threatened by your presence will wound you. Treat it with compassion and not hatred, they know not what they do.

But you won’t do that though will you?

Because you are young, and it’s hard, so you will simply have to figure it out for yourself, with me watching you fall, over and over, whilst you learn the hard lessons in life.

Threats to your sense of self will never cease. It happens in adulthood too, but what you learn, is that you always have a choice. The ability to choose your reaction. Try to remember to take responsibility for the choices you make, it’s the light that will lead you to self acceptance.

Be kind to the strugglers in life.

There are many that are doing it tougher than yourself. There are many that don’t have mums and dads that have the capacity to care, there are many who find themselves in very challenging situations who are fighting private battles you will never understand. So don’t judge

-Kindness only matters.

Lead by example, and others will follow. Live true and raw and honestly, and you will attract those that are meant to walk beside you.

If you remember only one thing, remember this

Live for the moment.

Let go of the past, it is largely irrelevant.

The future is uncertain, so quit worrying.

Immerse yourself in the enjoyment of living, moment to moment, fully, and whole-heartedly.

Is this a cliché?

It sure is, but never a truer expression has been spoken.

My little boy, my blood, my heart and soul, always remember, at the end of the day, if all seems dire, I will be here.

To lie with you, until a new day comes.

Love mum

💚

 

 

Daily Word Press Prompt 

Disappointment