The Brown Eyed Dreamer

'Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.' William Wordsworth


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‘You know I’d never hurt you.’

‘You know I’d never hurt you.’

There’s something so hauntingly bittersweet about that line. Humans are fragile creatures; we bruise and scar like our hearts are made of paper slowly shredding into confetti. We know how vulnerable we are, but we still clumsily hand over our souls to every open palm, only to be forced to stand and watch emotions crushed and bled through menacing fingers. And yet… there’s still a childish curiosity that lingers between our ribcage, a hopeful naivety that flutters and begs to break free. Trust. Hope. It reminds you of laughter, smiles- those memories you tried in vain to suppress because it’s safer to forget, easier to pretend. Love. Peace. It strokes your poor, beaten heart and whispers: ‘Maybe this time will be different.’

Strain to hear it above the chaos of your cluttered mind. Promises break like rusted chains and sometimes people hurt you even when they didn’t want to.That whisper is the sole reminder that things can be better- wounds heal and people can change. Sometimes you have to listen to that tiny whisper in the dark, and just try. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith across the chasm of doubts we call life and pray that someone will be there to catch you on the other side. And someday someone will catch you- and maybe they’ll hurt you sometimes, but you know they’ll heal you too.

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Void.

Headphones in; music on. Fall between two intricately strung melodies hanging like lanterns across a starlit sky of crescendos and tempos. Let reality’s grains of sand slip through your fingertips in a morning’s gentle breeze. Close your eyes and breathe until your lungs hold the earth, the planets surrounding; the whole universe and everything it contains. Keep your eyes closed until the light disappears and the darkness opens and envelopes you, welcome and unending. Let your breath leave your lips in slow wisps of troubles, pains doubts, floating away like bubbles soon to burst. Gone. There’s nothing to worry about anymore. Let the goosebumps ricochet like drum beats down your back, let the crinkled frowns etched into your skin be erased. Reach out and feel the calm of the air around you, the serenity that ebbs through every chord that enters your ear. This is your void. Hold the feeling close, and feel free to simply disappear.


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The Man at the Off-License

I was walking home tonight from my youth group with a couple of friends tonight, and we stopped off at our local shop to buy some food and drinks before heading on home. In general good spirits, we walked on past the off-license beside the store, talking and laughing amongst ourselves. And that’s when we spotted him.

A lone figure, slumped on the floor beside the off-license wall, his head hanging down and his cap covering his eyes, a bottle hanging loosely between his fingers and slowly swaying, dangerously close to falling and smashing round him. His dejected figure sunk into the wall and his dark clothes seemed to make him blend into his background, so that the people passing him by into the off-license ignored him as if he was as unimportant as the cigarette stubs and broken shards of glass around him.

I was tempted to walk on- it was cold, and my parents wanted me home. But something about his figure made me stop in my tracks, as if he was screaming out for help without even lifting his head. A thought flashed across my mind- what if he was someone’s grandfather, father, husband? I couldn’t just leave him there on the side of the street in his condition, I couldn’t hold that guilt above my head. So I detached myself from the group and slowly made my way towards him.

When I reached the door of the off-license, I bent down so I was on level with the man. He didn’t look up, staring intently at the cracks in the pavement, lost in his own world.

‘Excuse me,’ I ventured, and his head snapped up to look at me as he suddenly realised me standing there. I got down lower so we were on eye-level and asked, ‘Are you okay?’

He stared at me blankly for a few seconds, his mouth moving but no sound coming out. I placed my hand on his knee and asked again softly. His eyes were wide with fear and confusion, bright and alive compared to his wrinkled, sunken and tired face. His eyes began to well up with tears and he finally murmured, ‘I-I don’t know..’.

His voice cracked on the last word and his face seemed to droop from the pain, his eyes revealing true confusion and pain. His breath stank of stale cigarette smoke and alcohol, and he was clearly not in his right mind, as he took my hand and pleaded me to take him home.  Instantly I felt obliged to do whatever I could to help this poor man, ignored by all those who passed by. This poor old man who subjected himself to drinking outside alone on a saturday night, whose eyes held so much pain yet were ignored by everyone. I took hold of his hand in both of mine and promised to get him home safely.

My youth leader and I helped to calm him down and eventually called an ambulance to come pick him up and check on him. An hour later we got him into the ambulance and they drove him off to the hospital to run some tests. I’ll probably never see that man again, but those eyes will stick with me forever. Those eyes screaming out for help, so grateful to be noticed. So this is for you Bobby, and I sincerely hope the pain stops soon and you are safe.  I hope life treats you well from now on, and I hope you remember me in the morning, because I won’t forget you.