The old man looks beautiful, sitting in the spring sunshine, smoking a cigarette. In passing I greet him briefly and when I pass him again 10 minutes later, I take a heart and speak to him.
Which means I walk past him first, stop, think for a few seconds, turn around, go back and talk to him.
It’s not easy for me to talk to people. That is the reasons why I usually do everything myself. I do not like to ask for help.
Lately I have gotten into the habit of watching myself think. To look at what’s going on inside me. I observe what I feel, focus my attention on the thoughts and feelings that rise up inside me and try to hold them for a moment to be able to look at them. In this way I sometimes succeed in perceiving things in me that normally pass away so quickly that they escape my consciousness.
He looks so beautiful as he sits there in the sun, whether I may take a photo, I would like to draw him later, I ask.
The man answers “No“.
I turn around and leave. When I walked about 20 metres, I notice a pain rising in me. I turn my attention to the pain, look at it carefully. It is the pain of a small child who has just experienced rejection and cannot understand why.
It would be easy to push the feeling aside. Pushing the feeling aside happens normally automatically, but I focus on the feeling. Without judging, without taking sides. And I notice how the feeling becomes more and more overwhelming, I see how I would love to cry out in pain.
I’m a 47-year-old man, I don’t just start crying in the middle of the street because I’m being turned down by a grandfather I don’t even know.
But for this brief moment, when in the world around me probably less than half a second has passed, I can catch a glimpse of the fear of pain that keeps me from asking someone for something.