finding one’s voice.

17/04/2011 § Leave a comment

“Hey! Hey!”

Wallace has a hoarse voice brought on from age and city pollution. Although his face is hollow and drawn, he still jogs with a skip, slipping as his hips give. He has long, curly red hair that glows of copper tones and big, brown eyes that sparkle with life.

Some like Wallace and some are indifferent to him, but no one is torn up about him. No one hates him, some love him. Still, most are not here long enough to get to know him. As an older guy, sometimes it is difficult for him to keep up with us. We pass around a soccer ball in the courtyard and he watches from a corner, leaning against the wall. Wallace has lived at the hostel for four years. He has seen people come and go, getting accustomed to transient behaviour, always remembering the regular returners, neither here nor there about them, but always friendly and welcoming.

Sometimes when I am sitting on the bench outside, reading a book, sipping a coffee, I will spot him from behind the bush. I want to ask him what his life was like, who he got to meet and if he has any advice to give me, but all he’s ever said to me was “Hey, hey!” while standing at the inside gate.

He gets out once in a while, goes for a walk up the street for five-minutes or so. That’s all he needs.

Wallace already knows this. His wisdom is beyond what he’s seen or where he’s been. It’s in his bones, in his raspy voice when he says, “hey, hey, let’s go out an play.” For five minutes, nearly everyday, he finds pleasure in stopping and sniffing. And he always comes back, wagging his tail, eyes bright, shining his puppy that is inside.

I love Wallace and he is a gentleman I will miss when I go back to Toronto.

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