Meetings by Chance #1 – The homeless man

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By chance, I frequently get to know unexpected people and end up living unexpected experiences. As tribute to these moments and people, these are stories of Meetings by Chance. Simple stories, but special ones. Meetings that made me grow. Meetings that made me more human. Meetings that gave me life. Unique meetings.

Where: A beach in Balneário Camboriú, Santa Catarina (Brazil).
Who: Homeless, name unknown.

It’s the end of the afternoon and my mind is restless. I walk to the beach to meditate.
A bottle of water. A creased t-shirt to sit in the sand. In my pocket, 4 reais, for possible emergencies.
I walk. I reach the beach. I sit. I meditate.
The night welcomes me when I open my eyes. Sensorial pleasure. I smile to the waves.
I play in the sand. I fill my hands with it, I shape a sphere. I have 1 sphere.
Again. Now I have 2 spheres.
A homeless man come to me and ask for help. I tell him I only have my water and t-shirt with me. I dont’t tell him about the money for emergencies. It’s for emergencies. He goes his way.
Again. Now I have 3 spheres.
I shape a square out of the sand (or almost a square).
I shape a triangle out of the sand (or almost a triangle).
I shape a donut out of the sand (or almost a donut).
I start to shape a dragon’s head.
Actually, it looks more like a horse’s head than a dragon’s head. Oh, well. Now it’s a horse.
I shape a horn in the middle of the forehead. I forgot it was not a dragon anymore. Oh, well. Now it’s a unicorn.
The homeless man come back and watch my work with enthusiasm. He offers me some food. A bread and a juice. I refuse, feeling guilty.
He offers me help to shape my work.
Now it’s 8:15PM, wednesday, and I’m shaping an unicorn in the sand with a homeless guy.
We shape.
Why do I need 4 reais for emergencies? I am hosted near the beach.
I put my hand in the pocket and offer him my money.
He accepts it, get up, disappear for some minutes.
I shape.
He comes back with more food to offer me.
We shape.
He almost doesn’t speak. When he does, I don’t understand very well.
Maybe he is not mentally healthy. Maybe he just have a lisp. Maybe he has some disability.
I can’t tell. It doesn’t matter. We talk through the sand.
We shape.
He starts shaping a tail for the unicorn. A fish tail.
It bothers me. That’s not how I wanted my work to be.
I think over.
It bothers me.
I think over.
I smile.
Why not?
Now it’s a mermaid-unicorn.
We shape.
He starts shaping other weird parts. I don’t know what our work is anymore.
Maybe it doesn’t need to be anything. Maybe that’s exactly what makes its beauty.
It is just the result of our moment. A good moment. The physical representation of our communication.
He looks happy. I feel happy.
We shape.
But he doesn’t seem mentally healthy.
I fear the way he looks at me and gets closer. Maybe he has good intentions. Maybe I’m judging badly and worring unnecessarily.
But it’s late.
I’m own my own. A girl, alone at night.
The moment is beautiful, but I fear for my safety.
He is really mentally ill. It saddens me.
It saddens me when I think over what he might have been through to get like that. It saddens me because he lost part of his mind. It saddens me because I choose to say goodbye.
He follows me for about 5 meters. I worry. But he stays in the beach. And I go home.
I arrive in peace.
Divided between relief, happiness, sadness.
But in peace.

I come back to the same location after 3 days.
It’s a cloudy morning.
He isn’t there. But our moment survives:


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