Loneliness. Some consider it a curse and others, a blessing.
In many chapters in the story of my life, I preferred being left alone. Not that I hate people or despise interacting with them. I just preferred to spend those seemingly fleeting moments of my life being lost in my thoughts.
Yes, you can say I’m a day dreamer. Like today. I was lost in my own world, sitting by the bench at the bus station, watching passengers board and alight it while smoking on a cigarette. Just lost in the present moment, nothing in my head. And that was when I chanced upon a homeless man who sat opposite me, thin and frail, his head on his lap. I suppose he was trying to sleep. I had seen him countless of times during this time of the day and he never disturbed anyone.
Like me, he too was lost in his own world. He only approached me once, a few weeks back, to ask for a ringgit, which he used to buy some fritters from a nearby stall which also had a similar lonely person, a transvestite to be exact. She seemed happy and all and pretended to be bubbly but I could tell, she was lonely.
Just like us both, her stall remained opened everyday, being a witness to the everyday happenings at the bus station. She sat on a stool, waiting for customers to buy some food. You know, make a proper honest living. So I did the only thing I could do; I killed the cigarette, walked over to her and got myself a pack of fried noodles and iced milo.
In the midst of preparing the food, we had small talk. It was nothing actually, and she was taken by surprise to see someone talking to her nicely. Usually people were rude and some usually made fun of her. But I understood well why she chose to remain quiet all the time. She was just lonely, just like the homeless man and me.
I paid, thanked her and walked over to the old homeless man and passed him the food. He was caught by surprise just like the transvestite. And at first he thought I was kidding, not being serious in passing him the pack of noodles. But I insisted and installed confidence in him that I was genuine. He took the pack of food and thanked me.
I thought I saw tears welling up in his eyes. But maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, for they too were wet.
I understood him. He didn’t talk much but went on munching hungrily. The unspoken words in those few minutes were loud and clear enough to tell me how much he wanted to share with the world what he had in his thoughts but he just couldn’t simply because he was afraid of being judged. Judged as a recluse, as a mad man, as a loafer.
But he was just lonely. That was his only crime. Lonely as the transvestite who manned the fritters stall and me who smoked daily by the bench in the buzzing busy bus station filled with judging but oblivious people.