You reach a certain point where, you stop caring about people. I’m being serious. You realize how useless some of them, well, most of them really are. You spend more time alone. You spend more time thinking rather than talking. You discover yourself after all these years of having other people discover you.
I was always one to make friends, to meet people, to enjoy the presence of others, but there’s only so many times you can be disappointed before you stop looking forward to things.
I remember being only 14 and meeting my best friend. I label him that, because well, he was the best friend I ever had.
It was a Monday and I hate Mondays. I remember waking up to the sound of my alarm clock. I wake up to the same thought that I wake up to every single fucking morning, “Great, school.”
I’ve been confined in this routine of academic studies day in and day out. I can’t do anything about it. I’m forced to have lessons and teachings shoved down my throat and am forced to succeed in this routine or else, my entire life will be a waste. I know that I hate this, but again, I can’t do anything.
I hop in the shower and take my time. I enjoy the hot shower hitting my skin and contemplate sleeping in the shower, but I can’t. I can’t do anything.
I get out, dry off and throw on some clothes. I stopped giving a fuck about what I wear. I stopped caring about other’s opinions. I stopped caring about everything and everyone at school.
I begin to walk to the bus stop because my parents already left. They all have work early and get off late. No family drama because, well, our family never is together. I’m not one to whine, but it’d be nice to have a family dinner. But, a microwave dinner will have to do.
It’s pretty windy and the leaves are everywhere. I pace my steps so I can walk on every brown leaf as I have my hands on my backpack straps. My steps get longer and shorter, depending on where the leaf was.
I get to the bus stop and sit. It’s 7:13 and the bus doesn’t come till 7:21. Fuck, I forgot my iPod at home. I have to sit and stare at the ground till the bus comes. It’ll take forever.
Then, I see this maybe… 35 year old, homeless guy, pick up a bottle. He throws it in his black bag and fixes is dark blue beanie. He walks towards the bench I’m on, and sits there. His army green crewneck smells like piss and his black sweats smell like shit.
I can’t really say anything, so I continue to stare at the ground.
“What’s the time, boy?!”
My initial thought was “Boy?”, but I answer quickly.
“7:15” “Thank you, sir!”
He’s so homeless he can’t even afford a watch. How embarrassing.
I notice out of the corner of my eye that he’s reading the book I have in my hand. It’s my psychology book. I’m surprised he can even read.
“How are you doing in school, boy?!” “Why?” “Well, you did give me the time. I figured I’d do you a favor and be kind.” “I suppose I’m doing okay.”
This guy really wants to have a conversation. I don’t know what me and a homeless dude have in common. I don’t know his name, his age, his lifestyle, his past, his anything. All I know is that, he’s homeless and I’m waiting for my bus.
“Psychology, eh?” “Yes.” “It shouldn’t be too difficult. Well, I wouldn’t think.” “What makes you say that?” “I’ve been on these streets for some time now, boy. You don’t think I’ve noticed people? How people are in certain areas. How people act when I ask for money? How people are when their other friend’s backs are turned? People are easy to understand. Psychology doesn’t need to be taught in school. Come out here for a week and you’ll learn more about yourself and other’s then you ever would have.”
Woah. What just happened. Did this homeless dude really just say that? He’s picking up trash for a living and he’s telling ME what’s easy and not?
“Well, that’s just me. Like I said, I’ve been here for a while. That’s why I’m quiet with others, but knew I could ask you for the time…”
The bus pulls up and interrupts him. I quickly jump up, pull out my two dollars and turn to him.
He looks at me and I’ll never forget what he said, “Hey boy, mind sharing two dollars for the bus?”
I don’t know why even to this day why I gave him money, but I did.
He walks into the bus with me and sits right next me. Out of all the seats, he chooses the one next to me. Great.
I don’t know what to think. I don’t know if he’s going to try to talk to me. If he’s going to be completely quiet or if he’s going to just jump and run around like a lunatic. I simply don’t know who the fuck he is. So, I ask.
“Got a name?” “Yeah, does it matter?” “I suppose not.”
Wow. He’s attitude just changed on me. I’m not even thinking about school anymore. How can someone like him, talk about psychology as if he’s a master of it.
“Amazing, isn’t it?” he softly speaks. “What is?” “Well, think about it. We’re probably never going to see each other again. Our only goal was getting on this bus. We worked together to accomplish our common goal and then… nothing. You look at me as if I’m crazy. I notice it. I’m used to it. Is it because I dress this way? Because my home isn’t like yours? Is it because my obsession with people as driven me to the point where I need to be surrounded by them, but can’t? We’ll never see each other, boy. But I promise you this, you’ll never forget me.”
I sit in amazement. I can’t speak. I can’t move. I’m in shock. Simple shock.
“I suppose that’s all life consists of. People coming together to achieve a goal. For you and your friends, to complete school. To be successful. For you and I, to get on this bus. Then what? What happens when everything that needs to be done, gets done? Nothing. We separate and maybe, if we’re lucky, we meet again and complete another common task.”
He’s right. Everything he says makes so much sense. I’ve never listened to anyone speak to me like this before. My “friends” are just people I see everyday. The perfect stranger.
I reach my stop and turn to him.
“I never did catch your name.” “I’ll tell you next time I see you.”
I never did see him again. I never did see him on the streets. I never did see him at that bus stop.
We completed our goal together. Now, I only wish another task is present so I can see him again.
Amazing how attached you can get to someone whom name is… irrelevant.
“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.” — Pablo Picasso