Today I was casually strolling through the city pretending that I don’t see the people wrapped up in blankets in front of the stores begging for money. Not even being able to look them in the eyes made me feel bad. Then I heard a voice, ‘You maybe got a fag for me?’. I was already past that guy, so I could just keep on walking. He wouldn’t take it personally, that’s not a luxury he can afford. Thinking that I felt even shittier, deservedly.
So, I turned around and said that I had to look for them. ‘No worries’, he responded, ‘I got time’. We both laughed as I finished my cigarette while complicatedly handling my backpack to find my wallet and my cigarette packet. As per usual my wallet was about as full of money as the wallet of an American hausfrau after Black Friday. I had half a pack of cigarettes though. ‘Thanks’, he said. I felt better about myself and tried to convince myself that I just couldn’t stop for every person in need.
I saw that he was wrapped up in blankets and somehow, I felt as if we made a connection (which probably only existed in my head), so I asked he was dealing OK with the coldness (where I live winter is still in full effect). I also mentioned that a local organization offers temporary housing during the winters, just in case. (Of course, I knew that he knew that but maybe he didn’t because who knows). He said he was doing fine but couldn’t go to the said organization because the last time he was there his things were stolen. Probably by someone who had even fewer things than he did.
I felt like there was nothing more to say and the last thing I wanted was for him to feel pity. Also, I didn’t wanna make him feel like he was obligated to talk to me just because I gave him some cigarettes. So, I wrapped up the conversation and went into a store where for the first time, I didn’t buy something I didn’t really need.
Then I went home, fell asleep on my couch and had a weird dream. I was trying to sing a song and although I could open my mouth, no words would come out no matter, what. I tried to speak and still, I had no voice. I tried to wake up but couldn’t do it. I was trapped and there was nothing I could do. I felt so powerless.
When I started this blog, I wanted to practice the English language for my master thesis. As you may or may not know, I have finished my thesis late summer but I continued writing. I don’t know if what I write is what people are interested in. I see the clicks and likes but that doesn’t mean anything in my mind. Still, I feel humbled that 2018 already brought more visitors to my blog than the whole year 2017. I also feel like celebrating because the last post I published was my 50th post on this blog. I might not say it enough because deep down I am a little shy: Thank you for stopping by!
Also, if you want to read a little more, I’ve done a guest post for Truly Madly Sassy on why having low expectations is actually a good thing.
Photos by Jonathan Higbee