I moved away from home 6 years ago, assuring my mother I could live by myself. Over 20 countries later, a nearly finished college degree, 2 true heartbreaks, and far too many quit jobs, I found myself in Northern Poland sitting on the train station floor waiting for a way to escape to yet another place. It was 3 am. Exhausted, I rested my head on my single suitcase which held my built up silent desperation for a home.
Next to me at this station slept two homeless men and one homeless woman. Their bloated and tired bodies laid in a state of never ending unrest. They looked how I felt inside and this pressed on my chest until I surprisingly began weeping. I did my best not to wake them, to do so seemed inconsiderate, they were actually homeless and there sat a homesick traveler, crying because for a moment she felt despair while they were caged in it.
My cry was interrupted when I heard someone shuffling toward me. I glanced up. It was another homeless man reaching out trying to place a small cup of coffee in my hands like a child offering handpicked dandelions tied into a bouquet. At first I didn’t want to accept it. Shouldn’t I be the one helping him?
Seeing his continued gestures to accept this small offering, I graciously took the cup. We didn’t say much, from my accent he knew I was foreign and maybe he didn’t want to play charades this late at night. I watch him shuffle away into a different corridor of the station and I was left to sit silently realizing how much this moment changed me.
I’ve been searching for a bigger life and a place to call home for years, but had I forgotten the other people around me who were seeking the same? This pushed me out of my momentary misery to want a home for that man, for the Syrian refugee, for the abused wife, for the homesick college student, for the abandoned child, and for the young solider with his finger on the trigger pointed at someone else’s home. I wished we could all rest if even for just one night- tonight. But if we all couldn’t, and we were stuck in our lost state of distress I wish we could find a way to be like this man, offering all we have (even if it seems like nothing) so for just a moment someone next to us could feel what we wish for most, the feeling of our tired hearts resting at home.
X Katie Art Courtesy of Nicola Kloosterman