Sally and I

You never know where things you do in life are going to take you. Seriously, you just never know. You go traveling, your leg gets infected with a nasty flesh eating bug, and as result of this you meet a beautiful girl (This actually happened to my brother). Maybe you get fired from your job and you end up being really prosperous and successful doing what you really loved all your life.

The list of examples could go on and outcomes are not always that drastic. However if you look back for a moment and pay close attention to all that has happened to you, I guarantee you you’ll realize that most significant events were not really planned and in the long run, even if they did not seem like that when they happened, were exactly what you needed in that moment to become a better version of yourself.

When I started writing a blog regularly I only wanted an outlet for those things that were meaningful to me. Feelings, thoughts and emotions that I feel are better shared than held captive in my Self.

What I didn’t know at the moment is that, as with everything in life and in nature, that outlet would never just be an outlet. It is always a two way passage. My writing has become a constant exchange of energy, of thoughts and feelings. A new opportunity for learning, growth and transformation.

Most times the inflow comes from comments from readers. I have to admit that I have never responded well to compliments, and fortunately I have received many on my writing. This has really come as a surprise to me and I have to admit I have learned to receive and enjoy the compliments.

Sometimes, this satisfaction comes from people signing up to follow your posts. All this compliments and satisfaction feel good on the soul and are always an inspiration to keep going and a teaching in themselves.

It is always special when a fellow blogger likes and follows you.

Yesterday I received a notification that another blogger was following me. As I read his own blog, I felt really flattered and humbled at the same time. Dennis Cardiff’s Blog tells the story of Dennis and his relationship with various homeless people in Canada he has befriended sometimes fed and always loved. He is planning on making a book out of his posts and use all the proceedings to help the homeless. His story and his writing are remarkable.

One of his posts caught my attention especially because it made me think of a wonderful experience I once lived that I had almost forgotten.

The post, called “How It Began” tells the story of Dennis’ first encounter with a homeless woman he calls Joy and how that experience gave meaning and probably changed his life forever.

homeless-girl-in-alleyc1

The reason this resonated with me so loudly is because it made me remember of a short relationship (I like to think of it as friendship) I once had with a homeless girl.

When I was in my early twenties I was sad and frustrated with the thought of working the rest of my life in finance as I was then. One morning I decided to quit my job and escaped to Europe. A week after I went from what some people might think of an enviable job in a top bank in Mexico City to waiting tables in Germany. After a bit of traveling around Europe I settled in London and had a big plan of working in bars and nightclubs until one day I could own one. This was my mission and my dream in those days, but  that’s not really the focus of this particular post.

One day as I was walking through one of those wintry, crisp and foggy London evenings towards work; a girl caught my attention. She really did. Those that really know me might think “So, what’s new? You fall in love every five seconds”. And I do..

This time however, the beautiful girl that unknowingly hypnotized me was sitting on the floor, her back to a fancy Picadilly Circus shop, covered in dirty blankets and asking for change

She was indeed really pretty. Even in her uncared for appearance she had fine features embedded in her soft, porcelain skinned face with enchanting, if even a bit sad, grey eyes, surrounded by black  silky hair.

I walked right next to her as I rushed to work that evening as I did for many others after that. I couldn’t stop thinking of her. She did not fit my image of the homeless. What was such a beautiful girl doing there, begging on the streets. We tend to think that pretty people have pretty good lives, don’t they? I just kept wondering…

One day I decided to talk to her. First I asked her name and if she minded me sitting next to her to chat for a moment. I think her name was Sally. At the beginning, she was wary to say the least. I remember I kept asking all the wrong questions. Why are you on the streets? Where’s your family? You must have other options… Silly me.

Fortunately after a few more visits to her spot on the street. I realized that if I was to befriend this girl I had to act like a friend. I started just asking things like “How’s your day been today?” Talking about the weather or other people passing by and basically just sharing the moment.

Eventually she told me her story. It was, some people may think, textbook runaway girl: Mum was divorced. Stepdad was abusive, both towards her and mum. One day she had enough, left home ended up in the streets. I don’t like thinking of her story as “textbook” though. It was HER story.

Sally and I became friends. I would leave home an hour earlier so that I could sit and talk to her for a while before work. I couldn’t really afford to buy her dinner every day (I couldn’t even afford to buy myself dinner sometimes during that period) but sometimes we would have some tea or share a burger. (Yes, I was a meat eater once) But mostly we would just talk and laugh and many times cry.

One day she wasn’t there anymore. Or the day after. She just never showed up again. For weeks I kept leaving home early with the hope to meet her again but it just never happened. I missed her. A lot…

Life went on for me and, as it happens, every day I thought of my friend less and less. It has been more than ten years now and I admit I hadn’t thought of her for a long time until I read Dennis’ blog yesterday.

On looking back I have so much to thank Sally for.

I learned how to be a friend. And I am guilty of forgetting that sometimes. I learned that friends don’t need to understand each other all the time. They just have to be there, listen and communicate. Just love each other.

I learned that there are no “textbook” stories or lives. We all experience and react differently to what might seem the same situations. And even if it seems like we are doing the same mistakes as others did, I am sure there is a greater reason for that to happen.

I don’t know what happened to Sally. Most certainly I never will. I like to think of her now with a loving partner and maybe kids. Maybe she is still lonely, living a quiet but content life and now she has a roof and has found some meaning to her life. I also know that things could have just turned up a lot worse than that. I hope not with all my heart.

I prefer to just be thankful for having met her, for all she shared and taught me and for our brief friendship.

Love and Happiness,

Mannu

3 thoughts on “Sally and I

  1. Thank you so much for mentioning my post “How It Began”. I love your story “Sally and I”. I empathize with your feelings about your friend. It is so difficult when we don’t know what happened. Like you, I pray that she has found a better life.

    Love,
    Dennis

  2. Such a great story…I could not imagine how I can leave my job now but at least I try to arrange a few days off a month to be free!! Get out of my box!!

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