Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SOCIAL (04/07/16)
By Belinda Peoples
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
He walks to the local supermarket at least once, sometimes twice, daily. He is probably the most recognisable person in the neighbourhood. Most locals would have seen him going to and from the shops. But I highly doubt anyone would look familiar to him, his eyes have become too well-acquainted with the pavement.
His refusal to be friendly has often puzzled me. Our paths have crossed countless times over the years as I’ve walked my dogs or tended my front garden. Good Christian etiquette taught me to always be ready to meet his gaze so I might at least smile a friendly hello. So far, he has denied me this opportunity every time.
It’s rather disheartening to have someone pass so close by and deliberately ignore you. In part, I felt inclined to reflect his behaviour. However, the urge to draw him out of his self-imposed solitude stayed strong. I still had hope that one day he might eventually return a greeting.
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was soon to take a beating. Having never seen him in the company of anyone before, I now never saw him journeying up and down the street without it. Girls in short skirts and tall boots, shockingly young for that occupation, flanked Old Mate wherever he went.
It was terribly awkward to pass him in the street now. I didn’t want to make eye contact with a person who thought it was OK to treat women like that. Our quiet street became a hub of gossip as neighbours complained to each other about Old Mate. I think many of us wished he would just disappear.
Then, one day, he did. Nobody seemed to know what had happened to him. His house was put up for rent, which at least allayed my fears that he was lying dead inside unmissed and undiscovered.
I thought about him quite a lot. I wondered where his family were and why no friends ever seemed to visit. I questioned what awful hurt and loneliness would cause someone to live the kind of destructive life he had been living.
I felt a desire to pray for him and was disappointed with myself that I hadn’t done so long before now. In spite of his unfriendly and unsavoury behaviour, I realised I was worried about what had happened to him and found myself hoping again for him; this time, that he was simply alright.
As mysteriously as he had departed, three months later, there he was, walking up the street again, only much slower now than he once was. As I stared out my front window, I couldn’t believe how much his appearance was altered. Once strong and healthy, he was now frail and thin. What I could see of his hair, once sleek and black, was now grey, with much of it hidden under a woollen hat in spite of the hot sun.
My husband was out the front that day, washing the car. I looked on, astounded to see Old Mate stop to have a chat. He told my husband how ill he’d been. He admitted that his partying had finally pushed his body over the edge, resulting in a severe heart attack and bypass surgery. He knew he was lucky to be alive. He planned to sell his house and move closer to family and friends he had neglected for years.
As he slowly continued on his way, Old Mate looked all around him, taking in everything in view, except the pavement. He spotted me looking at him from inside the house. I raised my hand in a friendly wave and smiled the smile I’d been hoping he’d see for the last 10 years.
As he waved and smiled back, I saw a person I’d never seen before. His face revealed a new hope for life yet to be lived. I thanked God for giving Old Mate a second chance at life. I prayed he might use the opportunity to get to know the One who saved him so he wouldn’t ever be lonely again. Who knows? Maybe Old Mate will live up to his nickname after all.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.