The old wanderer’s feet bear the scars of a path travelled with no destination. Though his shirt is tattered, and his swollen knees have long since worn holes into the brown corduroy pants a passerby offered one…two years ago, anyone who dares to look can only notice his steeled eyes.
Some nights when the wind blows especially hard or the cold bites deep into the bones of his rickety old frame, the man wonders whether he has turned into a ghost. He knows he hasn’t only by the averted eyes and circuitous paths of the morning rush. Nobody says a word to the man. Nobody can even look. He is used to this routine by now; waking up with the rising sun and positioning himself outside of the station that the same busy workers come into and out of every day. Like clockwork. 8:00. The lady in the high heels and the blue dress offers a pitying glance; its more than the man in the Burberry coat who pretends to read the Standard as he walks by can afford.
The days and the nights merge into a drab cycle of time marching on without care. When the weather is particularly nice the wanderer makes his way to the quiet pond tucked away behind a stand of trees not 5 minutes away from where he sleeps. There he communes with the birds and breathes in the fresh air. His toes dip into the water and the ebbing current provides a safe haven for a bath. The city never welcomed him, but this place serves as a hideaway; with his head underneath the water the hostilities and the noise and the hunger fade away, leaving serenity.
He knows he would have lost his mind if he hadn’t known this oasis from a walk long ago. In a city so vibrant and bright—flush with wealth—this is the only place he is not deserted. One day, on a particularly warm and sunny June afternoon, he hears a passerby humming a happy song. He imagines that the hums will fade away and become no different than the bees buzzing lazily as they pollinate the azalea bushes obscuring the gentle footpath to the lake he carved out over many years. Defiantly, the hums grow louder.
The melody replays in his head over and over. He knows this song, but he does not know why. The leaves on the bush tremble as a gentle hand parts the blooming flowers and reveal the silhouette of a young woman. Ashamed of his state the wanderer hangs his head and looks away. He knows that the space he occupies is merely leased until it becomes more desirable than the value he purports to hold.
“Look at me,” said the woman.
Cautiously his averted gaze turns to meet the eyes of the woman, standing at the sandy bank and looking directly at him. She has no fear in her eyes, no pity. He feels her warmth.
“How did you find this place?” The man asks wearily.
“My heart lead me here.”
The man recalls long lost memories of happy picnics with his family, the many hours spent playing in the heath just over the hill. He longs for those days, but he knows they are lost.
“I just want peace.” He says. The woman chuckles softly. She longs for peace too, but the man can hardly recognize it. Looking down at the water she observes the tidy ripples parading along in perfect order. She wonders what would happen if she took a rock and broke the ripples stable nature. She thought she had perfection too, looking into his eyes long ago. She wonders where his warmth has gone. Now she looks at the water and nothing but the ripples look back at her.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hello! My name is Anand Ambrosi, and I am very excited to be studying abroad in London for the summer of 2022. I study civil engineering at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC and I am fascinated by the many ways that cities impact the lives of those that live within them. In my free time I enjoy reading books, hanging out at coffee shops and public parks, and learning about geography (specifically urban geography). I look forward to sharing my experiences throughout my summer in London as I explore as much I can of what this great city has to offer.</p>