He was shuffling his steps around the campground while scratching his scalp, aimless and with a most worried look on his face. His name was was David and within the first few minutes (sometimes seconds) he would explain to whomever he met that his wife was murdered and his son committed suicide one week after.
I would later learn that those events occurred two years ago, but when he spoke of it you could tell it was the only thing ever really on his mind and present.
He slowly walked over to me while I was sitting on a picnic table after having just completed erecting my tent in this hiker-biker section of the camp.
As soon as I’d asked his name, and told him mine, he began telling me about why he was there, staying in this campground, as opposed to in his own house.
“I was robbed an beaten up pretty badly. The cops dropped me here to stay for free and someone just gave me this new tent, which was very nice of them.”
He also told me he was just hired for a job he was about to begin but still mentally quite exhausted and distraught and not sure how anything was going to work out in his life.
After listening to his story and his explanation for why he is, in his words, “so lonely and down,” I said something which seemed to change the entire narrative running through his thoughts. “Well, it only gets better from here. I believe things are going to start going really well for you, and I mean that.”
He had a look like a lightbulb had just gone off above his head. “You know, I think you’re right. I like the way you think!” The conversation then steered its’ way out of the gloomy and depressing clouds and into the glorious light of the sun, like driving through a dark tunnel through a mountain only to entrance a magnificent ocean view where freedom greets the lungs with breaths of redemption.
The next morning he asked if he could tag along with me into town (he actually instructed me that he was going to, which I think was his way of asking). Along our route to the local coffee shop in town, he met a lady and started a conversation.
When he mentioned he was looking for a place to live, she informed him of where she lived and that they had a spare room for someone who would contribute a few chores at the house during the week.
After we departed ways with her we entered the coffee shop and got a couple of sandwiches and coffee. He promised to pay me back but I said that I didn’t care about that, because after all, it seemed like he was on his way to better and new things and I didn’t plan on being back here anytime soon.
At Starbucks he made a couple of phone calls, one to the lady we had met only 30 minutes earlier, and he got everything setup to move into his new house. Just like that! How’s that for “it only gets better from here?” I asked. He also told the lady that as soon as he received his first check, he would take her out to a “proper dinner,” to which she agreed and said she would greatly look forward to their date.
He teared up a bit as his eyes began to see something on the horizon, as though the memories of all he had lost which dominated his mind were becoming baked out of their strangling hold.
Hope, I think that’s what he now has.