Wait for the Light

WaitForTheLightbeginnerHe is always on that corner in daylight, lounging on a great, high-backed cement bench, surrounded by copper plaques green with time, by granite lions heads with ferocious snarls made melancholy in decades, cars and pedestrians bustling by in carefree or carefully feigned ignorance of his presence.

The patchy beard framing a rhythmically puckering, pursing set of pale chapped lips is stringy, thin and unkempt, lying in tan gray streaks over a red striped polo stained with years of free coffee and grimed sweat, his thick smudged hands alternately folded over a withered paunch, twisting a strand of puffed gray forelock, or oscillating from scapula to sky as he rants at the unseen.  A dusty green rucksack, straps flailed haphazardly, lies on the granite platform at his feet, strips of soiled fabric, a water bottle, a coverless paperback he often holds upside-down before him while he sleeps in various stages of spill-out.

He mumbles, his voice monotone but the volume variable, rising and falling, often accompanied by stereotyped movements of the upper extremities, as he is carried on waves of psychotic agitation, his eyes open wide, but unfocused.

The journey to finds him perched on the edge of his bench in the early morning shade, a steaming cup of coffee held high in his right hand, the right arm threaded through a faded black hoodie dangling like a flag at his side, cyclically soaked by spirals of mocha liquid as he thrusts his cup forward to the beat of some inner cadence.

“Not god, only human!” he screams again and again as streams of the ambitious fortunate in pressed business attire move briskly past, hugging the curb away from him, eyes rapt on the path ahead.

The journey from finds him seated, stout legs skewed at nearly right angles, relaxed in the fall brilliance of early evening, his wrinkled profile shining through shadows of grunge as he stares blankly at the damp, crumpled newspaper before him.

“When you hate someone, it’s personal,” he alternately seethes and barks as preppy college students lost in headphones, as closely entwined whispering couples stealing glances, as proudly tired young adults in scrubs and suits, as pleasantly joking construction workers covered in dust, as seniors leaning on walkers loaded with groceries wait at the curb for the light to change.

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.#Boston  #Homeless  #Disease

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About Gold Standard Test

Sometimes I work, and sometimes I play. Sometimes I eat, sometimes I've no time. Sometimes I know, most times I'm learning. Sometimes I laugh, at times it's through tears. Sometimes I love, amidst trying and tolerating. I strive to make a mark, but this worlds substance can be hard. And all the while, I do hope it's normal and extraordinary and, above all, enough.

17 comments

  1. This piece has a wonderfully chaotic structure to it. The way it’s written reflects the character really well. A superb read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Definitely the best writing!!! I’ll reblog it on looking4heanna.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great capturing of the homeless plight. So many homeless people have untreated mental illness. Very sad.

    Thank you for visiting my site. Much appreciated.

    Like

    • He was sitting out there again today, uncharacteristicly quiet, but his tardive dyskinesia writhing loud and clear.

      Mental health is chronically ignored,* understaffed, and underfunded. (To say nothing of the pervasive stigma.) Where I trained, the Children’s Hospital received so many donations it threatened their non-profit status, resulting in the construction of so many wings and buildings and parking lots I’ve lost count. The mental health complex next door? Bankrupt. Closed. The CH was (and is) really (really) great. But so too was the shrinking, dedicated staff at the MH. Without a doubt, it’s easier to love and support certain patient populations (kids = [cuteness + possibility] ^ (moxy + dependency)). And the seriously mentally ill are a difficult, sometimes frightening group – but they are just as vulnerable and deserve just as much compassion and help and preventative care as the pediatric population – just as much awareness and funding and facilities and assistance reaching their full potential.

      Deep breath. End of rant.

      But, of course, you know all this. Sigh.

      Thanks very much for stopping by and commenting. And thank you for a great post tackling the vax!

      * unless there’s a mass shooting…but that’s a whole other can o’ worms…

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Your words painted a vivid picture of the homeless man and the world around him with their feigned unawareness. I wonder if more people realize that mental illness, and homelessness can be as close as a simple twist of fate, would they learn more and help more. A thought-provoking post. Also, thank you for visiting my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boy, do I hear you. The stigma of mental illness bothers me more than I can say. Psychosis, depression, mania, traumatic stress disorders, personality disorders – these are NOT personal choices, NOT indicators of deficient personal resilience. These are diseases. These are the product of genetics and environmental influences beyond the victims’ control. And yet, on a social level, the treatment of a middle aged man with schizophrenia, a devastating disorder of neurons and glia, is so starkly different than that of a middle aged man with a traumatic brain injury, or a brain tumor, also devastating disorders of brain cells. People rush to support the cause and family of one – which is wonderful – but the other is effectively ignored. It’s heartbreaking.

      Thanks so much for stopping on by and commenting; I wish you and your strong, beautiful grandson the best.

      Liked by 1 person

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