Contrary to popular belief: I do have a soul.
If everyone had to stand in line according to perfection…I’d truck it on back to the end. And then I’d be letting people break. I know, I’m awesome.
There are days I chug a little 2 ounce energy drink (that I guarantee has crack in it) just to keep up with life, then there are days I’ll take a pill just to tolerate life. Actually, it helps others tolerate ‘me’, but who’s keeping track?
And, no. Not every day. Please. Give a sister some credit.
I’m no busier than anyone else. I’m no more important than anyone else. It’s just the way I choose to do life. And I don’t need (or want) any approvals. My folks gave up raising me years ago…don’t waste your time.
A year ago, I had always thought you had to lay back on your bed to zip a pair of jeans. And I would never, ever consider belting up before bending over to tie my shoes. Dear God, no.
And stop picturing it.
So, I started walking. Then after a few weeks, trotting. I wouldn’t dare insult runners and call it a “run.” The only time I’ll actually “run” is if a hot dude is in front of me, or a creepy one is behind me. And, I can’t do it anywhere but Town Lake. Don’t ask why because I don’t know.
Yeah, sure. A year later I can now zip standing up and bending over while belted up doesn’t cause internal bleeding anymore. But there’s so much more to it.
From day one, I’d always see this man sitting on the same bench. Black man with long dread-locks, backpack, in dire need of a pedicure. Sweet Jesus, bad feet. But I’m not a foot lover anyway.
And a heavy accent. Jamaican or something like that. Not sure. I’m not as worldly and exotic as many would assume.
After about 8 months of not making eye contact and acting like he wasn’t there when I passed him, I figured since he had pretty much become a ‘constant’ on the trail, I made eye contact and smiled. He waved and smiled back. Then as I thought about it…he is always smiling. Always acknowledging those walking by him and always just, well…peaceful.
This went on for about a month. Then I decided to stop. Again, don’t ask why because I don’t know.
I asked his name. John. He asked mine. He shook my hand.
Told him how I really appreciate him always smiling and being so kind when I walk by.
“Aww, Miss Carrie, ain’t nothing to it. I’m just passing the day like you and everyone else.”
Every day that I pass him, we chat for just a couple of minutes. He calls me by name. And me, him.
And I’ve met several other walkers (and some who truly run) who stop to chat with him while I am. The man seriously knows some people out there.
I now feel comfortable enough with him to ask questions that might be a tad personal. I asked him the other day what it was like to not have to mess with car notes, rent, crap like that.
He pointed to his feet and laughed.
“That’s my car note right there. I just pay daily while you probably pay monthly.”
Then another hearty laugh.
“…and you’re standing in my living room now. This is my home. And look at my view.”
And he pointed all around us and to the lake.
(Damn. You got me there, John. Your view is sho’ better than mine. Not to mention way cheaper.)
We’ve chatted now for about 2 months a few times a week. He now hugs me when he sees me and tells me he’s been waiting on “Miss Carrie” to come around that corner.
He could be lying. I don’t know and I don’t care. Because when I once told him how I look forward to seeing him on my walk, he said:
“Aww…Miss Carrie, it does my soul good when all you nice people out here stop to visit for a bit.”
I’ve asked if he wants me to bring him something to eat. He says he has everything he needs.
He’s never asked for anything in all the chats we’ve had. But man, has he given.
I do sometimes shop for him now when I shop for me. Just basic essentials.
Lipstick for me. Deoderant for him.
Nail polish for me. A pack of t-shirts for him.
You know. The necessities. Things you need to get through the day.
I saw this the other day:
who will never be able to repay you.”
Each day I walk Town Lake…John lives a perfect day. I will never be able to repay him.
If everyone had to stand in line according to perfection…I’d still truck it on back to the end. And I’d still be letting people break.
Contrary to popular belief…it would do my soul good.