Creative Writing Piece: Love Is Simple - By Taylor Foster

Creative Writing Piece: Love Is Simple - By Taylor Foster
Photo by Green Chameleon / Unsplash

His worn, smudged hand tousled his scruffy, stubbly beard. The faint white and grey flecks that tickled his skin were dry and blunt. His eyes, deep yet shallow, held stories. Stories of pain and stories of joy, of loss and of redemption. Their brown and green depths were windows to the inside. Though the windows were open not many looked within. On top of his head was a mattered mass of mud-and-silver hair. Its knots were tight, coiled and looped, making his hair appear shorter than it was.
This man was perched out the front of an abandoned shop front. A large ‘For Lease’ sign striped across the glass above his tired head. His body looked limp, like a puppet on strings left on the ground, no longer held taught by the loving puppeteer. A ragged shirt clung to his shoulders. It was large and draped down around him, looking like a blanket. Once the shirt was clean, fresh and new, now it was nothing but a rag, a symbol of what he’d lost.
This man was not alone. Around him lay his prized possessions, items that were dear to his weak heart. On his left a worn and rustic pair of sandals, an old book with fraying pages and a broken spine, and a small picture frame placed down on the pavement. To his right lay a small carboard box and an ink pen. The box read on its front ‘please help’. Inside lay a small shiny coin, precious and valuable.
He stared out, head slightly tilted left, to the road that lay in front of him. Cars whizzed past, people moving so fast they couldn’t look up. Walking in front and past him were women, children and men. Their strides carried them past him, leaving him far behind. Children’s innocent faces turned and stared; mothers moved to the opposite side of the path. Individuals started down at bright screens, never looking up. He was not noticed; he was not seen.
More and more people stumbled fast, lost in their pace, and their own lives. Work was calling, time was never on their side. One child walked past, he carried in his hand a small baby blue blanket. He clung onto his safety in one hand and his parent in the other. Once again, they were on the opposite side of the path, the father beckoning his child to keep moving. This young boy with his Spiderman shirt, and his tracksuit pants looked at the poor lonely figure on the footpath, bunched in his loneliness. In one swift movement the child broke from his father and crept toward the man.
He stood looking at him for a brief moment. The ragged man turned his eyes toward the boy and smiled. Anyone would have seen him as mad, another crazy one. But this young boy, saw a man, a vulnerable man, a man needing love. With his father running over to grab him the boy spoke in his sweet child innocence.
“Hi.” The man’s head now turned toward the boy and his shallow eyes turned soft and gentle. “I’m Toby, what’s your name?” The man gently whispered, “Marcus.”
“Hello, Marcus. Can I be your friend?” With these simple words the man broke. He wept on the ground, soft droplets fell from his tired eyes. They carried the weight of the world, and splashed and broke onto the pavement, breaking down some long held hurt. “Yes… yes of course you can,” the man said between tears and breaths.
Suddenly the boy’s father was there, snatching the young spirit away. The father stole one look at the man, and his eyes held pity but also shame and fear. Tugging at the boy’s hand he led the child away. As he was pulled the boy turned and waved his blanket in goodbye.
The man hunched on the road sat and started after the boy for many hours thinking of his care. For days and weeks after, the father and his boy would walk their commute to daycare. Each time the boy would come past and run up to his friend and tell him some piece of news or give him a gift of a story book. The visits got longer as his father let him stay, until one day, the young boy gave the man his much-loved blanket. The man draped the blanket over his lap and felt its warmth and the love of a boy who saw more than what his eyes saw.