I am walking out of the building where I work to go next door to the convenience store for a bottle of Pellegrino. A tall man walks towards me, smiles. I smile back. I don’t want to make assumptions, but I think it is possible he is homeless.

He stops and says, “Excuse me…”

I stop and turn to look at him. “Yes?”

“I don’t want money” he says immediately. “But, I’m kinda stuck here. I just got out of emergency and I’m really hungry.” And he shows me the cut on his foot. “Would you be able to help me out with lunch?”

I look at him. Consider my options and say, “I could buy you some lunch here.” And I point to the little take-out restaurant on the other side of our office doors.

“I’d rather go to Mac’s,” he says.

“I don’t have time to go to Mac’s,” I tell him. “I’ll gladly buy you lunch right here.”

He considers it for a moment, thanks me and we walk into the restaurant where he orders lunch.

As we wait for the server to tally up the bill, I ask him if he has a place to stay.

“I’m kinda couch-surfing right now,” he tells me.

“Where are you from?” I ask.

“Hobbema or as I call it, Hellbema.” He laughs. Shrugs a shoulder. “I don’t like it there.”

“I know a number of people from Maskwachees,” I tell him, using the Indigenous name. “They are working very hard to create positive change.”

“Yeah,” he says. “But all my people there, they just judge me. Make me feel bad about myself.”

“Do you feel bad about yourself?” I ask.

Again, a nervous laugh. A shrug of the shoulder. “Yeah. Pretty well all the time. Life’s not easy.”

“I would have to say that for your people it has been very, very hard.”

He nods his head up and down. Looks me in the eyes. “You’re a good lady.” And he leans over and gives me an awkward, sideways hug.

I return the hug.

“How come you know people from Maskwachees?”

“I’m involved in a program called Choices,” I tell him. “I’ve met them through it.”

His face lights up. “Hey! My cousin went to Choices. When he came back, all he wanted to do was hug everybody! He loved it.”

This time, he gives me a full on hug. Laughing as he does so.

Laughing, I hug him back.

The server has my bill ready. I pay. I wish him well and tell him he could check with his band about going to Choices. “It might help you feel less bad about yourself.”

“I’d have to go back. I don’t want to go back there.”

“Sometimes, going back is the only place to find the way forward,” I reply.

He nods his head, side to side as if weighing my words.

I tell him I have to go. He thanks me for lunch and as I’m about to open the door to leave he calls out, “Hey wait! Don’t forget. We gotta hug!”

And I turn and we hug and I leave. I go to the convenience store next door to buy my Pellegrino and he waits for his lunch.

And life flows onward.

And both of us move on carrying the memory of a hug where our paths intersected.


22 thoughts on “Intersections.”

  1. AH Louise…..Makes me want to share. Yesterday I was doing a “Community Clean” with folks from a major energy company. Myself and a co-workwe were picking up garbage and depositing it in a can near a small grouping of benches where a few gentlemen who appeared to be homeless were sitting. They were feeding the birds.

    I cheerily said “Hello gentlemen” and the conversation began. Wayne told us three jokes, starting with “What is invisible and smells like carrots.” and ending with a slightly off colour one about Grandma and Grandpa. Joe told us about hiring his back and hip. We talked with these gentlemen for about 15 minutes, generally laughing and nothing but delightful.

    As we ended the conversation I shook hands with both of them for the second time, taking of the gloves that I was wearing for the community clean. Wayne said “You don’t need to take off your gloves to shake my hand”. As I smiled I said “Yes I do”. The hand squeeze lasted a fraction longer then one usually would. It was so sincere. Made my day.

    Oh, and the answer is “Bunny farts”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have such a beautiful heart and soul Karen — one of the many reasons why I love you so much. You have that wonderful capacity to listen deeply is such a loving way that people feel heard and seen and honoured.

      and lol re the answer to the joke and to your coming back to correct your typo. 🙂

      Love you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Louise You remind me of a lady who was sitting opposite me at a medical centre. She was well dressed and looked and smiled at everyone. When a homeless man came and sat next to her I was amazed at how she started a conversation with him. She listened and chatted away and validated that he was human. Most people turn away and do not look at these individuals.

    You made this man feel human, you did not look away and ignore him like so many do. His day is better just by giving him some of your time and the lunch and multiple hugs was an added bonus. Truly inspiring.
    Kath Thanks for sharing it.


Real conversations begin with your comments. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.