The Champion

The Champion

There I was, in dreamland, half-asleep,
leaning on my cart, when this phantom drifted
towards me. “Help me,” it said. “I’m hungry.”

I woke up from my dream, looked at the ghost,
tall, skeletal, thin, cavernous eyes, cheekbones
protruding, gaps in the teeth, grey face drawn.

“Sorry!” My reply was automatic. I looked
at him again. “I only carry plastic.” The excuse
limped heavily across the air between us.

I saw something in his eyes, I knew not what.
As I walked away, I added one hundred pound
of muscle to his frame. He had played hard.

I remembered him holding up the Maritime Cup.
But I couldn’t remember his name. I pushed
my cart all over the store searching for him.

At the ATM I withdrew cash I could give him.
I would tell him he had dropped it. I could invite
him to the snack bar, buy him a meal and more.

I could tell him to buy what he needed and meet
me at the check out. I could add his purchases
to my bill. I looked everywhere. Nor sight, nor sign.

One opportunity. That’s all we get. Miss it, blow
the match. Grasp it, hold it tight, we’re champions.

Comment: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “Or my sister’s?” Here and now we are living with realities that we have rarely faced before. Not everyone has kept their jobs. Some are indeed living out on the streets, helpless, homeless, panhandling, hoping. Right now they are lucky. Sunny, warm, hot … though sometimes too hot. At least it isn’t 40 below and freezing their butts off. So what do we do? Turn a blind eye? Say we are sorry? Suddenly recognize an old friend, turn quickly away before he recognizes us, and burn ever afterwards with shame?

I cannot answer for you. I can only answer for myself. I am ashamed of my slick answers, my throwaway negatives, my disguised barbs. “Go get a job.” There are no jobs, or very few anyway, Covid-19 has seen to that. “Do something useful, can’t you?” There’s very little they can do, and seemingly there’s very little can be done for them. “Go home!” They have no homes to go to.

So what are the alternatives? Love? Charity? Comprehension? Embracing their situation? Understanding? How can we understand, you and I, who sit before the computer screen, the cell phone, or the I Pad, scanning this in comfort? Think about it: there, out into the street, but for some good luck, and the grace of God, go you and I. Think about it. Now do you understand?

7 thoughts on “The Champion

  1. Thanks Roger. I miss the country so much and even more so now that I’m living in a building full of people who mainly don’t care what they do or who they might infect when they are ill. Because of my MS I have no immune system and am endangered each time one of my neighbors gets on the elevator with me and talks about how she/he spent the night barfing and the trots. I have tried to tell one of them that she needs to stay at home for 48 hours to make sure she is no contagious but I might as well talk to a brick wall. I began wearing turtleneck tops year round after moving in here because I can pull it up over my mouth and nose during the ride. Now I get on elevators that have signs telling us not to have more than 2 to 4 people on them and to wear face masks and we invariably stop again after the posted number are on there and they push in anyway.. There are times I feel as if I’m in a sardine can when the maximum weight capacity has been exceeded and they need something to help pry all of us out of the place. I’ve left the elevator many times when too many people get on and I don’t trust the old cables to hold that much weight for long!

    Oh, just ignore most of that. I just want to be back in the country — preferably in a nice house in an area with good WiFi, but if I can’t have that one of the barns will work. Even better if I could take over the entire barn instead of just a portion of it, but I know that wouldn’t be possible.

    You two Canadian friends take care of yourselves. I know you take care of each other so that goes without saying.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Got my results — NEGATIVE! I love that word right now. NEGATIVE! I want to move out of town now so I can get out without having to go in circles around my neighbors. I won’t be letting anyone in my apartment again until this is over in the next two or three years I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sure understand, probably more than anyone else sitting in a comfortable chair knows. I will have to find another place to live when this is over, unless my test this morning turns up a real positive. Frightened? Yeah. Sick? Oh hell yes! And wondering if anyone would care if I become the next person found dead a few weeks after the fact in this wonderful building filled with uncaring people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hate clicking “like” on your post because while I understand and appreciate, I don’t “like” at all. Oh dear, tests. I was meant to have a whole bunch in Jan and Feb. I am still waiting … not priority anymore. And … in case you are in any doubt … if anything happens to you, I will most certainly care. Keep well, keep in touch.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really think that if they are going to mess with the format the least they can do is give us other options than “like”. It seldom covers my feelings lately, but the they didn’t ask for my opinion even though I gave it to them. And the test is for CV-19. I was exposed by a “friend” a couple of weeks ago and the building police finally got the Health Dept to come in and test all who wanted it. Not knowing is making me crazy so I’m now waiting for the results next week. I sure wish I was back on the farm. In fact, if necessary I’ll get back out there and make a nest in one of the barns if I have to. They are all better built than the old house, now falling down from termite damage. My kids own it now and I’ve heard that the second wife has moved off the property so there shouldn’t be any problem with my moving in. Getting the boys to turn the water back on could be a small problem but I know how to get around that one easily. Electricity shouldn’t be a problem because of the fences and building that all require it. Not sure how feasible it is, but I have a plan of sorts now so don’t care if it works out well or not. Loads of straw and hay for bedding! I’m being silly right now, since I am only going away from this building because the management is not fit to manage. At least the head of maintenance who knew nothing at all about maintaining anything at all has quit — walked off the job after an argument with the manager who hopefully will quit soon herself. I live in a good place as long as I can stay away from people who irritate me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Now that is a plan. I am sorry to hear about the contact with CV-19. I have been worried not hearing from you Now I know why. I hope you get a negative response, and sooner rather than later. The wait and the doubt must be horrific. I do like your plan. We are on an acre of land out here, neighbors, but we have hardly seen them since March, in spite of all the ‘promises’. However, isolation does have its uses, especially at a time like this. I do hope all goes well for you. Be brave. Be bold. And hang in there, Angie. We’re rooting for you here in Canada.

        Liked by 1 person

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