Bolero of the stairs
"The nature of your tragedy. Is chained around your neck. Do you lead or are you lead. Are you sure that you don't care. There are reasons here to give your life. And follow in your way The passion lives to keep your faith. Though all are different, all are great climbing as we fall. We dare to hold on to our fate. And steal away our destiny. To catch ourselves, with quiet grace. Story to story, building to building, street to street, we pass each other on the stairs" Michael Hutchence / Andrew Farriss. INXS
It was in the afternnon of the feast of The Assumption, indecisive weather, showing the resistance of the summer. Like in a boxing ring with rounds of wind and drops of rain hit by the knuckel of the heat currents.
I had a meeting at 18:00 in Paddy's a bar in Nationateatret but I was running late. To my surprise, there was the man I like to call Bamse sitting by the stairs. I could have avoid him since he didn't noticed me, but it felt somehow wrong, so I stopped to say hello although explained that I couldn't stay to chat because I had a meeting.
I left, ran up the stairs, came in to the bar but my party was not there. I came out the bar and they were not there in the tables al fresco either. Then I took my phone and i had the wrong date and the wrong time. I was one day and an hour late for the meeting.
I laughed bitterly. The best thing that could happen to me agaisnt the frustration was to know my friend Bamse, was there, sitting in the stairs.
I sat down too and told him the story and we both laughed. He said "I bet they missed you at the meeting yesterday". And that was sweet and comforting.
He was more open than other times, he asked for water. He was thirsty, and I could identify myself, when I also have been thirsty. He is a person who suffers of paranoia among other mental conditions, but that day, he showed less signs of it and we had an eloquent long conversation. We laughed a lot, but he was perhaps embarrassed to experience some joy. I could tell.
People was walking up and down the stairs, tourists and locals alike and some did gave us a weird sight because we were laughing out loud. The watchers came a couple of times and at one point they asked me what's up? And I said: nothing, I know him. It felt good, to say I know him.
For the first time in two years he spoke about he liked music. He said about his need to have a better place to seat, he named a friend from school. "Maybe if I call him, he would let me in", and then he took his words back, "maybe not. maybe he does not want to hear from me". I just let him drain. Did not push him.
I asked for his name again but he got paranoid, it was sad to see him struggling with that "I want to tell her, I wish I could tell her" and then he finally said: It is not I do not want to tell you my name, yes I have a name, but I can't tell you. And I calmed him down. I said you tell me when you feel like it if ever. I met you without a name, and it is ok. Then he thanked and we moved on into another topic, another joke.
That night the Filarmonican Orchestra of Oslo was performing an outdoor concert in the royal gardens, and I told him, to pay attention and enjoy. I even suggested him to go across but then he said he had pain in the legs and he lighted up when I suggested the idea of a wheel chair.
Then in that time a man came with a super car wheel chair and we both laughed when I said "well, i can help you to find one but not like that". He said, imagine that "a chair for me to take the bus and move around. Be out of my thoughts, do something different and not just be sitting here thinking and thinking about the same things all the time, and the whole day passing by" He was teaching me so much then.
We spoke about faith, about God, about feelings like anger and pain and also about past mistakes we make, and how not so different we are although our conditions are different, at that point, we also talked about the blessings that even a person who live in the streets can have, and he agreed.
I said in the end, "well Bamse, it seems my meeting today was with you, and I am happy about it". He smiled again.
I left him, but in the night walk, my husband, my dog and I went for a stroll, and in the distance, the beautiful and soothing, almost hypnotising notes of Bolero from Maurice Ravell started to caress our ears. And we sat in a street bench to let them whisper about love. Then I thanked God for the day, they I thanked God for Bamse. I prayed for him to be listenning and for him, even for a moment, to feel himself as part of the harmony of the melody of God.