The water is low and the white stones on the river bed sparkle in the sunlight. Ruby walks ahead and sniffs the ground. “What was it like for you when you were living on the streets?” I asked.
“It was very lonely, most of the time,” she said. “It took me a while to realise that I had been abandoned. I kept waiting in the same area for my former companion, but he never showed up. When night fell I looked for somewhere to stay out of the wind. I was feeling very tired by then. I slipped into an empty barn a few miles away and curled into a ball to stay warm. I kept one ear up in case of any danger and did not get much sleep.
When I heard voices the following morning I slipped out of the barn and dug around a bin where I found a piece of chicken and some bread. A tall man chased me away. I walked to the town looking up at people’s faces to see if they would give me something to eat or drink.
A young woman stood outside an office building with a cigarette and a mug of tea. She looked kind and I walked up to her, nudging her mug. She smiled at me and let me have some of her tea. I drank all of it.
I could smell more cigarettes around the corner. A plume of white smoke whirled up above a young man who stood against the wall by the café. The food smells from the open back door were so overwhelming I stood there staring into the kitchen with my ears up. The young man went inside and got me two sausages. I licked his hand and leant into him for a while.
When the trees were in full leaf I wandered around by day, going back to the café and other places where people had clouds of smoke around them. I was given sandwiches, sausages and water, sometimes tea. On rainy days I had to raid bird feeders and bins for food. I dug up some carrots from a vegetable patch, picked raspberry and blackberry from the bushes and pulled apples of a tree. I slept in different places, always out of the wind.
One evening when the leaves started to fall I was looking for somewhere to sleep and saw a young man with long dark hair and a beard lying on some cardboard under the railway bridge. His face looked like a map carved from a life of rough roads and dead end streets. I sniffed it very gently. He half opened his eyes and stroked me under my chin. He lifted up his blanket and I snuggled up beside him. We kept each other warm and for the first time I slept really well.
The next day I wandered around my usual places for food and went back to the railway bridge when the light began to fade. The young man was sitting up under his blanket and I sniffed the can of dog food as he pulled the lid off. He scooped some food out with his fingers and fed me from his hand. I licked his hands clean, gave him a soft nudge with my nose and rested my head on his lap.
He stroked my head as we sat quietly with the moon before going to sleep under his blanket. For the next few days I would always return to my new friend as evening fell. He gave me food and we kept each other warm at night.
Although it was not easy to be abandoned on the streets and getting chased away at times, I never lost my faith in the kindness of others. I hope someone reached out to that kind man under the railway bridge and helped him find a warm place to live.”
I hope so too. I am so grateful for all those people who showed you loving kindness during that time in your life. By staying so positive and looking for the good in people you were creating our own reality again.
“Yes that is so true,” said Ruby.
I hope that you will keep your faith in the kindness of others. If someone has abandoned you I hope you will remember Ruby’s story. The more you keep your faith in the kindness of others, the more kindness you will meet.
I send you all much love,