My Calling

I was walking home the other day, and I passed a new building that is being renovated for boutiques and salons etc…
Some of the shops are still empty and haven’t been worked on. I pass one of the doorways, and in it, there is a grocery cart, 2 dogs and a young homeless boy. By young, I mean about 19. He motions at me, inquiring as to whether or not I have change. I consider pretending not to notice, but despite the music blasting from my headphones, I do have eyes and clearly saw him staring into them as he pleaded silently. Shake my head with a sad clown face, mouthing the word sorry, and continue on. Half a block later, I feel a pang. I can’t explain it but I think my actions following do a fine enough job. I run back to the homeless boy.
“I really don’t have any cash on me but there is a little bit off money on my card. Can I buy you something at the grocery store?”
“Uh… a Sudoku book? Something to do, I’m bored.”
I nod and start down the street. He calls after me,
“And dog food!” and again
“And dog water??”
I go to the grocery store. They have no Sudoku or crossword books or even magazines to read.
I buy dog food, two big bottles of water, a turkey sandwich, mango yogurt, V8, Orange juice and a bag of chips.
I go back to the homeless boy and his dogs. The dogs are even more excited than he is, sticking their noses in the bags
to see what I have brought them.
The next day, I am walking home from an appointment, and I realize I am going to pass the homeless boy again. I take a 5-block detour, to find a pharmacy. They’ll have Sudoku there. I’m dying for a coffee though, I haven’t had one all day and it’s giving me a headache. I was originally planning to go to Starbucks on the way home, but the 6 dollars in my wallet wont’ buy a Latté AND a Sudoku book. I’ll just make a coffee when I get home.
The book comes with a cool pencil and I have enough left over to buy 2 chocolate bars, one for me and one for my new friend.
We’ll eat them together.
I fantasize about us becoming the best of friends. I’ll tell him my secrets, he’ll tell me his. We’ll cry on each other’s shoulders, I’ll sew him a quilt and he’ll carry it with him forever as a memento from the days he was poor and alone, when only I was there by his side. I arrive at his door way. He is asleep. The Dogs are happy to see me but I haven’t brought them anything today. I place the book on his “pillow” beside his head, with an orange and one of the chocolate bars. The dogs try and eat it, so I take it back.
I pet them and give them kisses and hugs, and leave, disappointed but almost satisfied.
I get home to my own dog, who is bouncing off the walls. It’s a beautiful day and she desperately wants to go for a walk.
“Just let me make a coffee, then we’ll go out.” I go in the kitchen and realize that there is no coffee. It’ ok, there is a store right across the street. I open my wallet to grab some change and all that is there, is a receipt for a Sudoku book and two chocolate-peanut butter bars. I grab the dog’s leash and walk the dog around the park, eating both his chocolate bar and mine.
Tomorrow, I’ll bring him spaghetti, I think, and I’ll ask him what movie he would like to see. I have a portable DVD player.
I’ll charge it tonight and then we can sit in his doorway, and watch it together, with the dogs. Maybe that will stimulate some conversation between us, and get this bonding thing off to a start, or at least inspire him to tell me his name.
When I arrive, the next afternoon, he is packing his things in to the shopping cart. I panic. “Where are you going?”
“Tim Horton’s” he responds, barely acknowledging me.
“You’re bringing your things?”
“Yeah, they’re starting to work on this one” He motions to the boutique behind his doorway.
“Where will you go?”
“Dunno, but I might get the apartment on the corner, when I get my welfare check.”
“Did you get the Sudoku I left you?”
“Ok, see ya”
“Yeah? Ok, see you…. Good luck with welfare, and the apartment”
“Yeah, take care” He says, without looking up.
Of course they are working on the building, but I still take it personally. I should have only gone on alternate days. I’ve obviously crowded him. I knew every day was too much.
The next morning I went to the grocery store, and on my way home stopped off at my homeless boy’s doorway, but the only thing there was an empty chip bag. My heart felt very heavy.
I wondered on the way home, why I was so affected by him. When I walked in the house, the TV was blasting. I had left it on to keep the dog company but clearly it only annoyed her, because she was hiding in a room at the opposite end of the house.
There was a world vision, paid program on.
“This is Ahsante. from Tanzania, she is a HopeChild living in a community severely affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis.”
Perfect! That’s it!! It’s never been clearer.
I’m sure they will pay my ticket to Africa. I will be mother to thousands of children. I’ll teach them to sew and garden and decoupage. I wonder if they have glue in Tanzania.
It’s obviously my calling. The timing of it all is so uncanny, the suggestion of sponsorship, the homeless boy, the show on TV. The universe is telling me something!
I immediately go on the internet and start searching job opportunities with World Vision, Unicef and a handful of other associations. As it turns out, that what the universe is trying to tell me, is that there isn’t a big demand for singer/actresses in my new chosen field; and nobody is flying me to Africa, or anywhere else for that matter. Not without a degree, specializing in Child Protection, Public Health, Nutrition, Education, HIV/AIDS, Human Resources, Finance, Auditing, or Water and Sanitation. I clearly need to find a new calling. Of course it may take some time, as I will need a few weeks recovery from having all of my dreams crushed in one day, but my therapist assures me, I’ll bounce back soon enough.

Jennifer June