Archive for Foy

Hope, track 7…

Posted in christianity, creative, Foy Vance with tags , , , , on May 20, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

The street was alive with people. Old and young, male and female, everyone bustled about their daily business. The sheer busyness of the place was almost tangible, like a fog that hung in the air, blinding those below it to the existence of anything but the task in hand. The cacophony of sounds that is life in the city centre only served to add to the mayhem. Shop doors opened and closed, engines growled as the cars and buses flew past, ignorant of the pedestrians crossing the street… Snippets of conversations, cries of newspaper sellers, blaring of horns… This was it, this was life in the mainstream.

The man sat quietly in a recess in the wall. Though his legs stretched out into the street in front of him, he was in no danger of being trodden on. He often liked to think of this place as his home… after all, it was where he sat, where he slept, where he lived and breathed and hoped and dreamed. Yes, he liked to think of it as home. It made it easier to believe that the people purposefully walking by the kerbside were not avoiding him, but merely respecting his space. After all, he would never dream of taking a stroll through their living rooms, would he?

With his arm outstreched and his hand open, palm up, it was clear to see this vagabond had not washed in some time. His fingers were grubby and weathered, the rest of his hand hidden by a pair of worn fingerless black gloves. A green jacket hung on his narrow shoulders, over an old wollen jumper. His jeans were torn at the left knee, and had at one time been a bright blue. An old white pair of trainers and a red woollen hat completed his get-up, with his face placed his age as being somewhere mid-thirties. His scruff of a beard, existent more by lack of shaving equipment than an intentional accessory, was a dark ginger, contrastic starkly with his hat. His eyes, green as a fir tree in winter, now watched each person that hurried by, too busy to stop. He watched, trying to make eye contact, trying to catch someone off guard, trying to stir up within people that feeling of sympathy and guilt that wouldn’t let them just walk by and ignore him… though by this stage, it was clear to see from the vacant resignation in his gaze, that he had all but given up on these people. They wouldn’t stop for him, he knew. To them, he was no more than another homeless guy, another figure to be avoided on this busy street, another person worth less than the task at hand. You see, they just think he’s going to take their money and then go and spend it on dope…

A young woman dressed in a navy trouser suit hurried past with a briefcase, looking with great intensity at something across the street that seemed to have just caught her intention. The vagabond sighed slowly to himself. No, he thought, these people didn’t understand… how could they? In the busyness of day to day city centre life, one can’t afford the time to stop and consider the complexities of life of a homeless person… after all, everyone has their own life to lead, why stop and think about the life of another?

Time passed, almost as fast as the people. The vagabond continued to look out at his fellow inhabitants of the city, his mind contemplating that great unsolved phenomenon… So often these days, he found himself thinking about it, of how despite being in the middle of such a crowd, how huge the feeling of lonliness can become. So engrossed was he, in fact, in analysing his own seeming non-existence in this world, his own isolation in a world of company, that he didn’t notice the man who had stopped by his side. No, he didn’t notice him at all, not until the first words were spoken…

A thoroughly unremarkable individual in terms of appearance, this visitor had seemingly arrived from nowhere. Dressed in an ordinary pair of combat trousers and a green t-shirt, he crouched down beside the vagabond, and spoke softly in his ear. The surprise on the vagabond’s face was immediate, turning his head to view this new arrival in bewilderment. The visitor continued to speak, his smile beaming out from his face. Indeed, even his eyes betrayed the happiness he seemed to feel feel inside, shining out and seeming to laugh along with the words he was speaking. After a good number of minutes the visitor, still talking, saw the first few tears forming on the vagabond’s eyes. The look of shock had never left his face, almost as though it was a mask, an emotion frozen in time. The visitor stopped talking for a moment, knowing the vagabond was about to cut in…
“Why?” His gruff voice cracked a little, as the first tear rolled down his cheek, into the wiry strands of his beard… “Why? Look at me, can’t you see what I am, where I am? I lost my job, my family and friends have disowned me… God can’t love me. I’m a lost cause…”
He felt the hopelessness rising up within him once more… Unable to continue, he merely sobbed quietly into his hands. The visitor watched on, the compassion in his eyes so tangible it seemed to almost flow out of him… stretching out an arm, he placed a hand on the vagabond’s shoulder, and gently squeezed. He opened his mouth one final time, and spoke in the same soft, uplifting voice as before…
“Be at peace, my child… Salvation is here today.”

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The street was alive with people. Old and young, male and female, everyone bustled about their daily business. The sheer busyness of the place was almost tangible, like a fog that hung in the air, blinding those below it to the existence of anything but the task in hand. The cacophony of sounds that is life in the city centre only served to add to the mayhem. Shop doors opened and closed, engines growled as the cars and buses flew past, ignorant of the pedestrians crossing the street… Snippets of conversations, cries of newspaper sellers, blaring of horns… This was it, this was life in the mainstream. But something was different, something had changed… people were stopping, turning around in the street. The homeless guy, the one everyone tried to ignore, the one who sat quietly in his recess day after day was standing up and shouting out to the world around him…

“Hallelujah!” he cried, “Hallelujah!” Tears were rolling down his face, as unhindered as his shouts. Looking around at the people stopping around him, he continued to call out…
“Hallelujah! Everyone, listen! This man, this man… There’s someone here you gotta meet! Someone you just gotta meet…”

He whirled around, pointing to where the visitor was stood. He looked once more into the face of his new friend, into those compassionate eyes. That same warm smile broke out on the visitor’s face one more time… and he was gone. The vagabond looked in amazement for a few seconds at the spot which had just been emptied of the visitor’s presence, before whirling around again, trying to see where he had disappeared to. Turning on the spot, looking wildly around himself, the crowd began to laugh. He looked up at them, unable to make out their faces now, his vision blurred by the tears still streaming down his face. He stumbled forward, into the crowd itself, still looking for the visitor. He barely noticied the jeers and taunts, the laughter of those around him as he pushed his way down the busy street. Eventually, the people around him continued about their business, losing interest in this clearly delusional man…

Onward he walked, looking around him, wiping away the tears with the sleeve of his jacket. As his vision cleared and he scanned the faces around him, he saw a young woman sitting on the ground, back against the window of a fast-food shop. She was well dressed, wearing a pair of blue designer jeans and expensive looking brown leather boots. Her red shirt was buttoned up just so far as to be a little revealing, and her long, straight black hair had obviously been styled. The vagabond watched as she pulled her knees in towards her, hugging her legs as she stared the the pavement before her. He saw the people hurry past her, not noticing the single tear escape her eye… sympathy welling up inside him, the realisation of all that had happened suddenly hit home. Abandoning his search for the visitor, the search he now knew was fruitless anyway, he walked up to the girl, taking a seat on the ground next to her. She didn’t seem to notice him at first, not until he spoke…

**************************************************

The street was alive with people. Old and young, male and female, everyone bustled about their daily business. The sheer busyness of the place was almost tangible, like a fog that hung in the air, blinding those below it to the existence of anything but the task in hand. The cacophony of sounds that is life in the city centre only served to add to the mayhem. Shop doors opened and closed, engines growled as the cars and buses flew past, ignorant of the pedestrians crossing the street… Snippets of conversations, cries of newspaper sellers, blaring of horns… This was it, this was life in the mainstream. But something was different, something had changed… people were stopping, turning around in the street. The homeless guy, the one everyone tried to ignore, the one who sat quietly in his recess day after day was standing up and shouting out to the world around him… and a girl was with him, some new friend he seemed to have found. The two of them were stood in the street, crying out to those around them…

“Hallelujah! Hallelujah! There’s someone here you we have found!”

**************************************************

The sun was setting as the vagabond walked down the gradual hill towards his destination. He said a little prayer, just to give thanks to God for the view which he beheld; the valley sides illumiunated by the tawny-orange hue of sunset. Not many people were still out and about at this time; in fact, save the vagabond and the man walking along beside him, not a single person was to be seen on this street…

“You’re right…” the vagabond’s companion spoke into the silence. “I don’t think anyone could have expected it… Some have dreamed of it, of course, have been desiring it and praying for it for as long as I can remember, but I doubt anyone woke up this morning and knew it would start today…”

The walked onward a little more, reaching the bottom of the hill and turning into a new street. The companion spoke once more, continuing his thread. “I’ve been praying for it myself, y’know… many nights I would sit in my room, looking out the window at the lights of this city… praying for revival to come…”

They turned in through a gateway, stopping at the door as the vagabond’s companion fumbled in his pocket for his key. The vagabond turned around, looking out at the street before him. The school on the other side of the street stood tall, blocking his view back up the hill they had just descended. Pulling out his keyring, the vagabond’s companion led the way into the house. “I’ll have the kettle on in a jiffy,” he said, gesturing the vagabond towards the sofa in the sitting room to the right. “By the way, I had meant to ask you earlier… The visitor you were telling me about, what exactly did he say to you? Did he tell you his name?”
The vagabond smiled as he moved towards the sofa. “His name… he told me it was Gabriel.”
The vagabond’s companion stopped midstep, halfway to the kitchen. He was well aware of the significance of that name… turning to face the vagabond, he asked again, “What did he say? What was his message?”
The vagabond’s smile broadened, and a laugh escaped his lips… He gave his new companion the answer he sought…

“Hope…”

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