It’s been a pretty good week. I was free from cravings until yesterday when I felt that familiar cranky itch to numb out. I know by now that my subconscious has deeply ingrained patterns that are fairly predictable. I knew that this would happen some time around the end of the first week. I’ve been talking to my subconscious kindly, as if it’s a juvenile part of myself. I’ve also been trying to remember that my conscious self has the final veto on that trip to the shop to buy wine. Internal deals were negotiated, pizza and cream buns were eaten, Netflix was watched and I didn’t drink.
Yesterday I set off walking to buy groceries and saw what I at first thought was a schoolgirl collapsed on the floor at the end of my street. People were walking past and gawping but not helping. As I got closer I realised it was a small adult and from her appearance and the collection of belongings that had spilled from her bags I guessed that she was homeless.
I admit that as a total introvert my first instinct was to avoid the situation completely but I knelt down and gently shook her shoulder and woke her up. I asked if she was OK, if she’d taken anything or needed medical help. She told me that she’d been drinking but was mainly just exhausted. I asked her where she was on her way to and she told me her ‘home’ was the bandstand in a local park. I offered to walk with her and help her get back there. Her response was a shocked ‘Really? You have the time?’
I picked her up off the floor, helped her balance while she put her lost shoe back on and packed up the clothes that had fallen out of her bags. She seemed suspicious. ‘Why are you talking to me? Why are you helping me?’ I told her ‘You were passed out on the floor, alone and that’s not right. I can’t solve all your problems but I can treat you like a human being’. She relaxed and I found out her name was Peggy, she was Kenyan, almost 50, had a daughter from whom she’d been separated and that she’d sadly fallen through the cracks in the social care system.
It was a long process getting to the park. I linked arms to stop her stumbling into the road. I wasn’t sure how much of her state was alcohol and how much was exhaustion. At one point we passed two older ladies approaching a local primary school to watch a granddaughter’s school play. Peggy exclaimed how beautiful and well dressed one was. Tina, who was in her 70s didn’t hesitate for a moment, hugged Peggy and told her she was beautiful too. I explained that I’d found Peggy asleep on the floor up the road and we were now taking a walk to the park. Tina hugged me and told me I was an angel and then something very strange happened.
As she let go she told me ‘By the way, I’m psychic. You have something wonderful coming to you, you just have to say yes to it’. And then she was gone, off up the street with the sort of energy I hope I still have at that age. Wait! WHAT?! I had a million questions but that’s a conversation that will never happen. I’m still getting that hair-raising tingle when I think about it. I talk to my version of a higher power often, I call it ‘The Infinite’. I told it that whatever message it had sent me through Tina, I was saying yes. I’ve got zero idea what I’m signing up for but hey, if it’s wonderful then bring it on.
As we arrived at the park a local taxi driver, Tony and his wife Janet were arriving too, with a tent, a flask of hot tea, milk and sugar. Introductions were made and the four of us ended up setting up the tent and talking for another hour. The whole experience was tragic and unnerving but with a strange beauty and authenticity mixed in. Now I know where Peggy’s based I’m planning to drop by next week with some water, fruit and vitamins as she told me she mainly gets given unhealthy stuff and worries about nutrition. So yeah, overall it was a very strange day 9.
It’s day 10 now and although I have a long weekend at work ahead I’m feeling positive and hopeful and will try to stay that way. I hope you all have a good weekend x