The world is built on it…
My life is built on it…
I tried to explain it to someone the other day. Every relationship I have I trust, either for them to be friends or more.
I lived in the Midlands during the 70’s and right the way through to the 90’s. In 2000 I moved to Wales but the time before that was not a happy time outside of my home. Due to unfortunate circumstances we moved somewhere that had a huge national front following. I know a lot of people will read this and wonder at it, but you have to remember that I am part Indian and I didn’t live within the Indian community.
My family have always been more ‘white’ than Indian, if that makes sense.
I remember one of the last days I walked my dog before the cancer took her. We were doing the same route we always did. I saw an older gent in the distance. He was walking about as slow as I was. My Tab was only really up for a saunter. It was autumn and the leaves were crunchy underfoot. All in all it was a beautiful day. The sun was shinning and there was enough wind to make the leaves left on the trees sound like rain but not enough to make it cold.
I was dressed in my favorite jumper and jeans. I felt good and Tab was striding out for her, which at 14 wasn’t a great stride, but close. Her head was up and her tail out, like a flag. She was a cross between a retriever and a border collie. She had grown unusually large and was a solid dog. Okay, maybe a little overweight at 14 but at that age, why not.
The guy was getting closer and I noticed he was well dressed in a tweed jacket and trousers. He was well turned out. I smiled and gave a quick nod as we were about to pass. This guy didn’t slow or speed up, he just gave me a look of pure disgust and hatred.
“Why don’t you go home.”
Then he spat at me.
It landed on my boot.
I kept walking, looking at the ground and not looking up, not until I got home. Once Tab would have picked up on the aggression and growled, but this time there was nothing. She was almost deaf and only partially sighted so there was no way she could have done anything. And in one fell sweep the guy in tweed had demolished the trust I had in my neighborhood.
It was the last time I took that walk.
The last time I acknowledged anyone in my home town.
After that I walked with my head down and my eyes looking at my own boots. Even now, in a new place I can feel myself doing it. I don’t want to but I find it tricky to trust that people will walk past you without saying or doing anything.
I know people have looked at me, even recently, but it isn’t the hate I expect… I just wish on that day I had taken a different route and that the trust I had for my surroundings hadn’t been damaged.