Maybe it was the voice of an angel, that inner voice I couldn’t ignore…Or, maybe, it was a part of my past I just couldn’t move on from, repeating the lines over and over again. My intentions were pure…
…so, here I am, with chocolate cookies, sandwiches and tea. And a blanket…
He’s sleeping on the same bench I saw him yesterday and he seems in peace, even smiling in his sleep. I imagine the moment when he’ll wake up and he’ll find the hot tea and the food. Will he blame this on the angels he’s drawing every day? Will he believe he’s still dreaming? Will his demons stop for just a moment, now that he has someone praying for him?
I come closer and tuck him in, the blanket is warm and smooth, will he dream of the perfect embrace? The scars I see on his hands and chest, self-inflicted wounds, some still fresh, senseless words…
“No” and “Not her” and “Stop” and something strange…the word “VOW” in big letters, with a date under it. Written above his heart.
He’s waking up, so I’d better leave. That’s what my reason is telling me, but, again, that inner voice…
His smile when he sees me standing there, with a cup of hot tea, simply takes away my fears. And I see his eyes now, they’re blue. Not dark, not deep, but blue like the stormy sky.
“You’re real? Not just in my head? Not just another hallucination?”
He takes the tea, not knowing what to say, how to show gratitude. There’s no need to…I feel it, from heart to heart, beyond words. I did what I came for, now it’s time for me to leave.
“Please don’t leave me. Just…just tell me why.”
“Because I can only imagine how cold are the nights you spend here, on this bench. And I wanted to make your life a little easier, at least for this morning.”
“You know I hate liars. The truth, please.”
His words are harsh, he always did this, during my summer practice at the mental hospital. Asking me to go beyond the surface, to confront my hidden truths. Now, 16 years later and many, many scars…he learned to say “please”. And I’m still learning to stop lying to myself.
“Okay…I will tell you. See, in my darkest moments, when even faith seemed to fade away, no light at the horizon, I used to close my eyes. To imagine something. A perfect moment made of so many beautiful details…A glass of warm milk and chocolate cookies for breakfast…and a golden ray of light on my window…a gentle wind on my skin. Barefoot in an enchanted forest where the perfect music is played by humming birds…”
“And his love.”
“Yes…and his love.”
“But you never got that. So you’re creating perfect moments for the lost ones. Lonely little girl, if you only knew…”
“Tell me, I want to know.”
“My perfect moment is right here and now. It starts with a cup of hot tea and you, sitting on this bench…like we would be common people. A simple conversation or just listening to the birds singing, this is my perfect moment…”
“We can do this, we really can.”
“No…we can’t ignore the past. My crime. The pills I have to take, to keep the voices quiet. The constant struggle, the darkness, the scars…But, for just one moment, you made me dream of a perfect moment like this. Thank you.”
“There is a shelter where you can get help…even a job…maybe some friends…”
“I have my help, they’re around me always…even now. They tell me to send you away. They ask me to keep you safe.”
“I am safe, I trust in this light I’m seeing in you, it’s stronger than the darkness.”
I see tears in his eyes and I wish I could…I wish I could change things. For him, for me, for all the lost ones…
“I told you then and I’m telling you again. I cannot give you peace! Not now…not while I walk through the darkest darkness. But I can save your life. And I will!”
And he’s throwing all the food on the muddy ground. And starts to scream and to destroy his canvas. “Leave me alone! Leave! Officer! Someone! She’s stealing my food! Police! I need help!”
And, while I’m trembling in shock and horror, he grabs my arm, whispering to my ear.
“You need to create those perfect moment in reality, not just in your head. Find your enchanted forest. Find love. You know I hate liars and you’re always lying!”
“You said you trust the light when there is no light! Now run! You thief! Officer, she stole my food!”
I run and the wind is drying my tears stained face.
And, looking behind, from a safe distance, I see him curled up on the ground, crying, trying to save the chocolate cookies…