Late evening, walking through downtown after class on my way to the train. I could hear her from quite a ways away, so I was already prepared. Coming around the corner there she was, a disheveled homeless woman sitting on a bench in the park and loudly, verbally fighting some invisible demons. She was alternating between rage and tears, so I sat down on another bench near her and just waited. When she finally focused on me, I don’t know why I was compelled but all I said was “Hi Beautiful.” And she lit up like a Christmas tree.
I wasn’t there that long, maybe 15 minutes, but it was long enough to see a couple of police officers approaching, who turned around and walked away when they saw me give her a hug – her tears on my shoulder and my sadness for a society that considers people disposable nuisances. No matter what my feelings or possible judgement is about her situation, it doesn’t change anything, nor is it my place. I was merely present in a way that seemed to help at the time. Before I left, running to catch the inbound train, I took off the little charm necklace I was wearing and pressed it into her hand with a quick whispered message of hope. She covered her face and sobbed for a moment, blessed me as she accepted it. I could do without the religious blessing, but the sentiment was sweet, and omg, I do understand being crashed out and fighting to survive, even if my version is somewhat different.
It was the kind of moment I wished someone would have done for me when I was crashing hard up on the island. People can be unnecessarily shitty sometimes, especially in regards to mental health issues.
The song today has been stuck in my head, because really, we can all use moments of kindness and compassion, and the vulnerable in our society need those moments even more. Love to all
Hold My Hand – Hootie and the Blowfish