6. Eye Contact:
I’d seen him around town and I knew he was somewhat of a local legend, but no one I asked could tell me anything about him. Well, at least nothing concrete.
Oh, there were rumors:
“I heard he’s a professor of music who got fed-up with the university bureaucracy and quit,” said one person.
“No, no, no,” said another. “He caught his wife cheating and vowed he would never step foot inside their house again.”
Whatever the case, the homeless man who could be seen dragging his life around in brightly decorated plastic bags that were attached to his belt, was the most fascinating person I’d seen in years.
He could be seen most mornings either sitting amongst his belongings, watching the world pass by, or walking from place to place, leaving parts of his life at various intersections.
Most people ignored him, but occasionally someone would stop and talk to him. I wanted more than anything to do that, but I didn’t know how to initiate a conversation, nor did I know what to say. It didn’t help that I didn’t speak the same language as him either.
As I stood on the main street of town early one Monday morning I spotted him across the road. I had just come out of a nearby cafe and was waiting for the lights to change.
And that was when it happened.
We made eye contact.
And in that split second, I knew that no matter what his story was, this man was more intelligent than anyone I had ever known. I felt myself falling into the depths of his dark, deep, almost black eyes and as he realised he’d found a kindred spirit who somehow understood him, I saw his lips twitch up into what was the slightest smile.
Talking to him suddenly didn’t seem as important, nor did it matter that we might not be able to communicate using spoken language. Our eyes said it all.