MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “poor”

Between a couch and a wild place

The leather couch used to squeak whenever he would slide down onto it. It didn’t anymore. You could even feel the small dent in the middle caused by all those people it had accommodated over the years. He could proudly or shamefully (it depends how you saw it) proclaim that he had grown up right there on that brown leather couch. In that down town office that was as modern as could be, with white walls that were repainted every five years and modern, funky furniture that invited the waiting patients and offered the illusion that they would take their troubles away.

Relax”.

That was the first word he heard every time he sat on that couch. It was Mr. Waterman’s job, though, to say so. He needed his patients calm so that they could pour out their soul to him during the next hour and he could attempt to provide some solution, consolation or advice to their problems. And these were many and varied. But over the years he had heard a lot. Just not from one particular patient. This one had proven to be an especially difficult case.

Brandon would simply refuse to speak out, to tell the professional sitting across him what troubled his mind, what made his heart ache, where his eyes wandered when he stared at the horizon out of the window. Whatever the exhortations or appeals Mr Waterman would use, discreetly or not, Brandon did not want to speak. He simply sufficed to say that he had nothing to say. Mr Waterman even tried to entice him with milkshakes and chocolate, but that didn’t work even when he was a young child, let alone now.

After around twenty years of therapy, Brandon still had nothing to say. Yet, he was as confused and tormented inside as he had always been. A storm was still brewing inside of him. It was just silent to the outer world.

Brandon was a child that kept to himself. He became quite the introvert as a young man, although he loved to socialize and go out with friends. But when he returned home, he liked to stay in his room doing his own thing, whatever that was – reading a book, listening to music, surfing the web. And just like he disturbed no one, he himself did not like to be disturbed. His upper class parents believed he was a troubled child. They described him as “emotionally unavailable” and “awkward” and pleaded Mr Waterman to “fix him”. So Brandon grew up in the office of a shrink. Only none of them knew about it.

Mr Waterman watched Brandon grow from a quiet boy into an unsuccessful rebel, into an elegant and well-educated young man. From the few things Brandon had uttered in his office, the professional understood that the boy felt misunderstood, that no one could comprehend what he felt or thought and that is why he preferred to stay silent. So the hours were spent talking about culture, the news, and well, anything other than himself. The latest thing that made Brandon’s eyes gleam with excitement was a photo book of the most amazing places in the world that should be visited. The first-page inscription –a quote by William G.T. Shedd: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” – was what mostly inspired his heart to sing. But Mr Waterman knew that the storm would finally break out; he could see it the young man’s eyes, his gaze was looking further than meets the eye. It was obvious that he was in search of something out there that was not immediately visible.

And the storm arrived.

It came in the form of a hand-written letter and a tidied-up room.

I run because I no longer want to hide.
Because there is so much more out there to explore.
Because I want to move on with my life and do something substantial.
Because I feel I cannot reach my true potential if I
am locked down here, without facing any real challenges or the endless possibilities that seem to be out there.
Because I want to be somewhere where people know me for me and not because of who I know.
Because I want to be heard without needing to yell and fight.
Because I want to rediscover the joy of Fridays and looking forward to the weekend.
Because I want to live and see places and not just hear about them from other people’s past experiences.
Because I want to find a house that is mine from the start, that I decorate and organise to fit my needs.
Because it is part of growing up and independence is a powerful thing to have.
Because I don’t want to waste time anymore, waiting.
Because I want to finally find and taste at least one happy ending.
I run because I am not running. I simply want to live.

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Sliding doors – Granting Pennies

straw hatThe sun was waking up from behind the grey clouds as the wind howled from within the door cracks. Martha, stretched her dirt-black hands and used the only clean rag she had remaining to wipe the morning dew from her eyes. She was the old widow who was left homeless and alone after her husband died and the state seized their house due to unpaid debts. She lived in the spaces other people left empty. She was the shadow that filled the empty enclosures. The silent presence in a seemingly fine world.

Her day relied on the friendliness and compassion of strangers. She had nothing else left to hope for.

As she shook of the dust from her worn-out dress, she tried as best as she now could to make herself presentable. She put on her straw hat with the still luminous green bow, and stepped out into the busy street.

That day was different.

There was a lot more people rushing by than usual. It left Martha wondering whether something had happened, or if someone important was visiting.

Either way she carefully observed passers-by and the minute she detected a hint of sympathy or a sip of kindness in someone’s look, she would approach and timidly ask for assistance – “even a two-pence will do” she would plead.

Sympathy is a strange thing. No matter how much you may hurt or empathise with someone’s suffering, it is hard to reach into your pocket and actually do something about it.

And that day, no one did.

Martha was left standing in that very spot she had begun her day. Only now she was hungry, tired, and emotionally drained. It was unusually cold that night too. The rain and thunderstorm that ensued covered up the beating of her weary heart as she lay on her hole-filled blanket to rest, in a sleep she would never wake up from.

 

But what if her day had been just a little different?

There was a lot more people rushing by than usual. It left Martha wondering whether something had happened, or if someone important was visiting.

Everyone seemed to be rushing to go somewhere.

Martha carefully observed passers-by and the minute she detected a hint of sympathy or a sip of kindness in someone’s look, she would approach and timidly ask for assistance – “even a two-pence will do” she would plead.

Every once in a while, some kind soul would appear and make the difference. You simply had to be ready to accept it.

Martha found this in the face of a young woman. She wore a blue sleeveless dress, with a white belt suited at her waist, and elegantly covered with a blue trench coat. Her eyes were as blue as the ocean, but they seemed to reflect the grey of the clouds that covered the sky that day. The woman stopped in front of Martha. Their eyes locked for a moment that seemed eternal. None of them spoke. They did not need to.

The woman reached for her bag and pulled out an almost overflowing envelope. She placed it in Martha’s hand giving it a squeeze as she left it there, smiled and departed.

Martha watched as the woman turned the corner and disappeared.

She opened the envelope and gasped. Inside were hundreds of money bills. Enough to repay her debt and get her house back. Enough to regain a decent living. Enough to reclaim her life.

What Martha never knew was that that woman had just won the lottery. And decided to give the money to someone who she judged needed it more than she did.

Sometimes even the smallest gesture can change someone’s life. You just need to be bold enough to make it.

Also part of Daily Prompt: The Kindness of Strangers

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