They say that behind every storm is a silver lining. But what happens when that storm never ends? What happens when that storm rages so furiously
that you just want to let go and let it sweep you away?
There was a time when I looked at the world through rose colored glasses. No one, it seemed, could do any harm. Everyone was honest and decent.
Life was good and full of cheer and love. There was a time like that. But I don’t remember it anymore.
That’s me there on the shoreline. That certainly wasn’t the lowlight of my life, but it was the changing moment of a series of events that lead
me here. Events spurred by forces of hate, angst, anger, bitterness, and pain. Pain that sweltered inside like a festering wound with no cure.
The man there looks miserable doesn’t he? Well, that’s because he is, well, or at least he was. He had given up all hope on life, on the
goodness and decency in humankind. There he sits his only pair of pants torn and old, his shirt just as raggedy. His hair long and matted, with a
flowing unkempt beard and mustache. The man had obviously left himself untrimmed for at least many months. His skin tanned from the constant beating
of an unrelenting sun.
What would lead a happy family man to such a situation? Passersby would just jeer and throw taunts at him. Perhaps shout out some obscenities, while
ruthless kids would get close enough every now and again to throw a rock, or spit at him, taking an unnatural pleasure in their cruelty.
But he didn't care. He just sat there, day in and day out. He wouldn't talk, he would just sit and gaze out into the wide open sea with a lost gaze
from behind piercing green eyes. When his bodily instincts took over he would cast a net into the ocean and catch a few fish for the day. And there
by the seaside he would cook over a flame in the night, and then sleep under the open sky.
If it rained he would just sit there. If the sun was beating down he would just take the beating. You see he literally did not care about anything.
Then one day, something happened…
“Senor,” it was the voice of a young woman who spoke to the man. She spoke Spanish, the common tongue of the place he was in. “Sir,” she
said again her voice soft and unimposing. But he ignored the voice. He heard as her footprints slowly faded away then turned to look in her
direction. On the ground where she had stood was a plastic bag.
He stared at the bag then looked back out to sea. An hour past, maybe two, the wind was blowing, and the sun was high in the sky. Sweat dripped from
his brows, he did not stir. Finally he turned to look again at the plastic bag. Seagulls were nearing it now and investigating its contents.
He got to his feet and yelled at them and they scurried away. He bent over and picked it up and looked inside. There wrapped in foil were some tacos
of carne asada, which he could already guess by the smell they had left, and in a cup with a lid some Jamaica tea.
He looked toward the road where the woman had come from as if approving and then walked closer to the sea, as it was low tide. He took a seat
cross-legged and pulled out the food and ate. It had been months that he had tasted anything other than fish and water, and although he had almost
forgotten what the simple joys of life were, he enjoyed the meal.
The man closed his eyes for a while and then opened them and sighed and returned his gaze to the sea.
Two days past but the thought of her voice still rang in his head, the simple “senor.” It had been months since anyone had acknowledged his
existence, besides to taunt him. Then he heard it again.
“Senor, por favor,” it was that same sweet voice, unimposing, caring. Still he did not turn to acknowledge her presence. “I have a pair of
pants and shirt sir, and some more food. Please take it.” She said and set it down by some rocks and turned and left.
This time he turned to look at her before she had vanished. Then looked at the bag of clothes and food she had left. He turned his gaze back to the
sea and let an hour pass this time before he got up.
He found the food, still warm wrapped in foil, chile rellenos with beans and rice, and more Jamaica tea. He ate the food faster than he should have.
Then pulled the clothes from the bag. It was a pair of new Levi Jeans, and surprisingly they fit him, and a button up long-sleeved white shirt and a
pair of open-toed leather sandals.
He hesitated then took his old rags off and went out to sea to wash himself then returned and put the new clothes on. That night he burned his old
rags over the fire.
Two more days past and the man’s mind began to linger more and more on the woman. Who was she? Then again he heard footprints approaching and his
heart skipped a beat, almost wishing it was her. Then he heard her voice.
“Hola, senor, I can see the clothes I left fit you well. I’m so pleased,” she said and he heard her clap her hands together. “I brought more
food sir, but if you don’t mind, I want to sit with you if you want to eat it today.”
The man grunted. But he didn’t turn to look at her. She hesitantly took a step forward, then another, then lowered herself to the ground and sat
He felt uncomfortable. He was not used to attention. And here now was a woman sitting next to him, uninvited, imposing on him and his self-inflicted
prison. But something in his heart also began to change. He felt it warm a little, just a little. He finally acknowledged the presence of the woman
and turned to look at her.
She was taken aback by the deep gaze from his piercing green eyes. Eyes that seemed to gaze straight through her. “Gracias, senora, por la ropa,
and the food,” he said back. His Spanish was surpassingly good.
“De nada,” she replied. “I’m so happy to finally see you talk,” she said then put a blanket down and took out the food she had prepared for
them. She gave him a plate of food and drink and took her own. He accepted it and they both ate in silence.
Finally she got up and said, “I must get going, but I’m so glad you let me join you today. I hope to see you again soon.” She packed her
things up and left.
He just sat there and stared out to sea. But there was a change inside of him. He felt it. It was a seed that was planted the first time he heard
her voice, and it was slowly growing, imperceptibly. He still refused to acknowledge it. But it was there.
She returned again two days later and sat beside him and they ate together. This time she also had a small bag of other items. She left him a bar of
soap, a hand mirror, scissors, and a razor-blade for shaving.
She handed him the things after they had eaten and he actually said, “thank you ma’am.” She smiled when she heard his voice.
“I’m Alicia,” she replied. “Please call me Alicia.”
“Thank you Alicia,” he said.
“What is your name?”
“Jack,” he replied.
“Jack, that is a nice name.” she said and smiled.
“It was the name of my father’s dog,” he replied. She laughed at that and almost made him smile.
“I have to go, but I’ll be back,” she said. She said good-bye and he nodded to her.
After she had gone he looked to the bag of toiletries she left him. And grabbed for his beard with a hand and looked at it through the mirror she
left with him. He didn't recognize the face that stared back.
He stored the items and set back to staring at the waves.
edit on 20-2-2014 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)