As I sit here writing this post, I am sat in my little ice cream kiosk on the beach front trying to figure out what just happened. It’s your average Monday, the sun is shining, dog walkers are out and custom is quiet.
I’m sat here clock watching counting the minutes till home time when a guy comes in. “Coffee please” he requests. Standing to make his coffee he places a hand on my arm halfway through getting up. “No sit, I’ll make it” he ordered, bit weird I thought but each to their own, saves me doing work anyway. But that’s when I noticed something odd about him. It wasn’t the fact he was about 6″7 or the fact he was wearing dirty clothes, he looked sad. He wasn’t crying and he didn’t sound sad, but his eyes. They were sad eyes.
Working on the beachfront, you meet an array of people. Some are lovely, some just want a chat and other are too busy to acknowledge your existent in between pouring a black coffee with 5 sugars. So when this guy started telling me about his life growing up and difficult times, I didn’t think too much of it. It wasn’t until he literally burst into tears in front of me that I realised this wasn’t going to be a quick chat.
He began to tell me how he never felt he belonged anywhere and how his wife recently moved his family to Canada after he suffered depression. It wasn’t a chat you would have to a stranger. He was speaking to me in detail as if I was a friend. Showing no embarrassment, just relief.
After comforting his sobs and some reassuring words and advice for a good half hour, he composed himself. He informed me that he was currently a ‘resident’ at St Ann’s, a local mental health hospital.
Before meeting me today, he was on his final journey of walking along the beach, his favourite place, before wanting to take his own life. He thanked me for listening and throwing him a lifeline. For restoring his faith in women and for showing him that not everyone is out to get him. With a tip in my pot and a farewell he was gone. Leaving me sat here wondering how in the space of 45 minutes a man adamant to take his life is now on the way back to the hospital and all because I took the time to listen. It goes to show you that taking the time listen to someone whether it be for an hour or even 5 minutes really can make a huge difference.
Love Tilly xx