“Raise your words, not your voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” Rumi
After a lifetime of hard work, jobs wherever he could find them, long hours of manual labour had left him in old age a grizzled man, face betraying the years spent outside in the elements.
From factory to merchant navy he’d done and seen it all. A hard man, short of temper, quick to react for that’s as it was in his working life, your strength was often your saving grace.
Now a man who frequents the parks, the shopping malls, scrounging in bins carrying on him most of his life’s possessions. It is here he mixes with people, who might not acknowledge him but he knows them, as he recalls being just like them.
Time is catching up with him, his infirmities are growing, something new each week seems to be afflicting him, he limps as one leg pains him, his brow is furrowed from not only age but the physical niggles that wrack his body as he struggles on.
In one corner of the park, he takes refuge. He feels safe here, even though he cuts a formidable figure still, he suffers insecurities like anyone else.
Children play nearby kicking a ball, and he wishes he was young again to play as they do.
The ball is kicked and lands among his few possessions. Once he would have responded with hostility, but today he smiles and invites the boys into his space.
They are wary, and he understands that, so much talk these days about predators, but they sense despite his size he is harmless.
They sit around and listen to his stories. He is interested in the boys, what they think even when he doesn’t understand a lot of what they say, he feels so much has changed, but still, he thinks people need people.
His stories enthral the boys; they promise to return another day and thank him for his time and tales.
He watches them run off in their respective futures kicking and laughing and wonders if they will return.