For the last few days storms have battered the hills. The river broke its’ banks, spilling angry torrents of froth and foam up over the peaceful fields I like to wander.
Something wordless wild flies in the wind, hurling up rubbish to slap me in the face. I feel a bit like I’m walking under water, through days lit by the memory of what sky looks like.
My little home town seems smaller than before, crumpled up like a damp tissue, an embarrassment to itself.
The high street’s prosperity has emptied out into pawnbrokers and pound shops. Everything is closing down. Everything is cut price.
The talk is all doom and gloom. People cheerfully assure me I will probably never get another job. One rather snugly noted that since human poverty is my industry, I might just be okay.
The default state of mind seems to be quiet despair. It’s me that’s out of joint.
I ask a friend why he stays here and sits still, alone in his unhappiness. He tells me that acceptance much is easier than hoping for something and being disappointed.
Just for a moment I think I know exactly what he means.
My travel plans are slowly taking shape. I have an escape, but I too have lost a little inch of hope. I’m surprised to be so sad at the loss of another could-have, might-have-been.
Dreams can be crushingly seductive, but without them there will be no spring, winter will not end. So I’m trying hard to bump start my heart, to smile and step out anyway, to gather enough energy for another adventure.
On the train station I saw a young man looking lost. I took a guess and spoke to him in Arabic. He sheepishly responded in very broken English that he doesn’t speak English, but made an endearing attempt at chatting me up all the same.
I had to laugh, and it’s always hard to say no to a man who doesn’t seem to have a friend in the world, so I offered him a coffee and an English lesson. We chatted. I felt he could be my kid brother. He didn’t seem to agree…
With the help of a Farsi ap downloaded to my phone and god-bless-you google translate, he told me he had just arrived in the UK to seek refugee status. He said that life is better here than in Tehran with a dark look that suggested I take his word for it. I didn’t need him to fill in the blanks.
He talked of what he wanted, what he was hoping for, and I wholeheartedly wished I was a magic fairy who could give it to him in that moment.
He was overwhelmed and lost and scared and yet still so excited, and charmingly just a little bit cocky, convinced he would get to where he needed to be. It made me want to give him a hug – instead I gave him my phone number in case he ever needed help.
He sends me garbled messages now and then. I never quite understand them but they always make me smile, when I think of his bone-cold, tongue-tied, thousand mile from home hope.
There is something incredible about continuing to give a dream your best shot against the odds. There is something lifting about being kicked in the ass but getting on back up.. so I’m going to quit moping and keep on plotting and planning, and holding out for the spring.