He was walking down the street. Not really sure where he was going. No particular direction as there was no where to be. A bag in each hand and another on his back. His whole life being carried along with him. Head down, no need to see; nothing to see; nothing he wanted to see. Too much had been viewed through those cold dark eyes and captured, stored away within his brain. No more.
Right now his only thought was shelter. The clouds were building and like all those who shared his way of life he knew that rain was coming. Summer storms in this part of the world, and at this time of year, are always quick, heavy and would soak though to the skin in seconds. With nowhere to get dry the rain storm would be a killer. But it wouldn’t get him today.
As he expected all of the covered places were already taken. He wasn’t too quick on his feet so the youngsters got the space forcing him to move on. There were so many around this area these days. Many drifting in for the summer months making their money begging from the tourist. There were always tourists around the harbour and George Street. But that wasn’t the area for him. He wouldn’t be allowed around there today, Central Station would be better cover, better people and possibly some food.
Sometimes my thoughts take over my being. My paranoia controls everything about me. I move through time unable to focus but still somehow get enough done that those around me may not even be aware. Or perhaps they are but they say nothing.
He was never sure what started it, the trigger that caused his world to crumble. It was a different place, a different time.
Life had been good. He had been successful by the measures of the world in which he lived and the circles in which he moved. Nice house, nice car, wife, kids, friends. What else was there? What else did you need? Perhaps that was the problem – more!
They always wanted more from him. He always wanted better for himself and his family. He worked hard. And then he worked harder. Travelled, worked, hotels, bad food, work. The next project was simply added to the last. Pressure applied to deliver. The implicit threat that not to succeed was not an option. If you said “enough” that would be a sign of weakness; not acceptable, not tolerated.
He was never actually sure what was the reality of his situation, but he never said no and so more was added, then more and even more.
I over think. Over analyse. Work out all of the crazy things I would like to happen but never will; even worse how they will conspire to humiliate me.
Slowly things began to unravel. His wife upon whom he relied so much for stability wasn’t there when he got home. She had had enough. Didn’t she realise that he had been doing it all for her! He would show her what she had walked away from, he would show her just how successful he was, just how good he was at his job.
He never realised that things were going so very wrong. The work into which he had put so much effort, poured his whole life, wasn’t getting done. He was falling behind, sinking beneath the ever increasing pile.
The pressures were enormous. Pushing down on him constantly. No time for a break, no time for a rest, no time to sleep, eat, relax, live.
How can friends really be friends. Surely they are simply laughing behind my back. Why will nobody be honest with me? Why will nobody help me? Why?
Others could see what was happening. The unprovoked outbursts. The moods, the rants, the shouting and swearing. The unacceptable, unprofessional behaviour. But nobody said a word. There were no offers of support or attempts to help alleviate the burden. They simply watched the inevitable car crash. Looked on as the brick wall approached at a million miles an hour and then turned away. False sympathy. Kind words; completely hollow.
“He never was very good”. “The clients never liked him, so many complaints you know.”
Cost cutting was the excuse, but the result was the same. It was over. Done. He was out. After so many years and so much effort and pain, he was left to count the cost. While he had paid an enormous price, others had collected and were congratulating themselves on a job well done.
The next year or so were a blur. He got some work but never really enough. The car went first, sold to try and keep the house but inevitably that went as well. Somewhere between divorce and the banks everything he had worked so hard for was slowly sucked away. What little cash he had he drank. It didn’t really help but it was the only way he could face the world. It numbed his brain so stopped him thinking what could have been. Stopped him blaming himself for being a failure!
Sometimes I need to be with somebody. Most of the time I enjoy my own company. Me and my thoughts. Me and my anxieties. Me and my worries, my concerns, my ……….
Me and my paranoia.
Somehow he had found a couple of dollars, just enough to ride a train. City circle would provide warmth and shelter from the storm. While he had a valid ticket he could stay as long as he needed. Making his way down the stairs and through the many tunnels he was jostled by the early evening commuters heading away from the city to their comfortable suburban homes. Dinner, glass of wine, a little telly and bed.
He found the platform he needed and headed up the steps and back into the cold. It was very wet underfoot as the storm had bought the heavy rains he had expected. Slowly making his was up the platform, he preferred the front of the train, although never actually knowing why. There were people everywhere. The rain had brought them to the trains rather than walk home as perhaps they would normally. It wasn’t far but not in this weather.
Nobody was sure if he slipped, tripped or stumbled. Maybe he bumped into somebody as we walked a little too close to the edge.